While Alec Guinness will always be remembered as the original Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ewan McGregor left his own unique imprint on the Jedi in the Star Wars prequel movies. But the Trainspotting actor didn't score that role right off the bat. As is usually the case with movies, numerous actors were in consideration to play the young Obi-Wan, including Shakespeare in Love star Joseph Fiennes. In fact, Fiennes came extremely close to scoring the part, but it all came crashing down on him thanks to director George Lucas' daughter. Seriously. According to Fiennes:
Joseph Fiennes recalled to The Wrap that when he auditioned to play Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Phantom Menace (he didn't name the movie, but provided enough obvious clues about it), he made it far enough into the process that he auditioned in front of George Lucas and casting director Robin Gurland. After the audition, Lucas introduced Fiennes to his young daughter and said he's "quite possibly Obi-Wan Kenobi." But after the girl expressed her dissatisfaction with Fiennes, that was the end of his Star Wars journey. Instead, the Obi-Wan role went to Ewan McGregor, who was Fiennes' Guildhall School of Music and Drama classmate.
The only way we'll ever find out if George Lucas' daughter did indeed factor into Joseph Fiennes being passed over for Obi-Wan Kenobi is if someone checks with Lucas himself. That should be a fun conversation. In any case, Ewan McGregor debuted as Obi-Wan when The Phantom Menace was released in 1999, and he reprised the character in 2002's Attack of the Clones and 2005's Revenge of the Sith. A decade later, McGregor recorded a vocal cameo for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and he's expressed interest in playing the Jedi Master again in a spinoff movie set during the time when Obi-Wan was on Tatooine.
In the years since being cut off from joining the Star Wars universe, Joesph Fiennes has appeared in projects like Enemy at the Gates, Running with Scissors, The Red Baron, Hercules, Flashforward and American Horror Story. He currently stars as Commander Fred Waterford on the Hulu series The Handmaid's Tale. It's hard to imagine anyone other than Ewan McGregor as the Obi-Wan Kenobi who was Qui-Gon Jinn's apprentice and Anakin Skywalker's master, but maybe on an alternate Earth, George Lucas' kid didn't say a word at that audition, and now Fiennes is the actor who was one of the Prequel Trilogy's highlights.
A third Star Wars Anthology movie is scheduled for 2020, but Lucasfilm hasn't given any official indication whether it will be an Obi-Wan Kenobi tale or something else. While the wait for that reveal continues, the saga set in a galaxy far, far away continues with the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi on December 15.
Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.
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