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Considering actor Ewan McGregor is one of the most celebrated elements from George Lucas' trio of Star Wars prequels, his return to the franchise for Disney+'s Obi-Wan Kenobi series is easily one of the most anticipated TV projects imaginable. As it turns out, it isn't just the fans who can't wait for McGregor's return, as the actor himself is quite excited himself. In fact, he thinks he's going to enjoy making the Disney+ show more than he enjoyed making The Phantom Menace and its two successors.
News about the Obi-Wan Kenobi miniseries has been limited, to put it lightly, with next to nothing known about the storyline and plot elements. But thanks to Ewan McGregor's enthusiasm about diving into modern-era Star Wars productions, we have a better idea of what the show might look like. Here's how the actor put it when speaking with ACE Universe:
I think I am going to enjoy it all the much more. I think our technology is such now that… I think we’d shot the first one on film, and we shot the second one when we got to Australia on the then-new HD cameras, which were pretty primitive compared to what they are now. So it was quite complicated technically, I remember. It was all blue screen and green screen and it was hard to imagine it. But nowadays, I think things have moved on so much, and I think a lot of what you see is gonna be what we see on the set.
One of the most commonly heard complaints about Star Wars' prequel episodes is that George Lucas was entirely too fixated on incorporating CGI into the movies, to the point where the human characters often seemed to be the only tactile elements from one scene to the next. But it sounds like the Obi-Wan Kenobi series will be going for the opposite effect by making everything as practical as can be.
Ewan McGregor then provided a comparison namedrop that I believe everyone can appreciate when it comes to on-screen location aesthetics. Here's what else he had to say:
I don’t know if you’ve seen any of the behind-the-scenes of The Mandalorian series, but they employ that incredible screen. I don’t even begin to know how it works, but it’s pretty amazing. So when you’re on set, if you’re in a snowscape or something, when you look around, you see that, and it makes you feel like you’re in the place. I think it’s going to feel realer for the actors. And I think we’ll be using some of that technology on our show.
The Mandalorian, which Ewan McGregor was a fan of, famously filmed used an extremely high-tech LED video wall (dubbed The Volume) on which backgrounds were rendered in real-time using the video game engine Unreal 4. This allowed for virtually any location to be brought to the actors, rather than relying solely on real-world settings. Beyond that, the majority of The Mandalorian was created using practical elements, from costumes to action sequences to Baby Yoda itself.
Though Ewan McGregor doesn't say that his Obi-Wan Kenobi series will be will exclusively use the same tech as The Mandalorian, it appears he's gotten enough updates about it to get him excited. Which, in turn, is the perfect way to get fans more pumped up for a show that has already fueled tons of conversations and speculation. Is it too early to start speculating about whether or not fans are going to see Ahsoka Tano in the Obi-Wan show?
It's unclear how the recent wave of Hollywood shutdown has affected the Obi-Wan Kenobi project, if it did at all. Following some behind-the-scenes issues that led to a change in showrunners, with Joby Harold taking over, production was set for early 2021. It appears that is still the case. Casting still hasn't been publicly revealed for the project, which may or may not bring back actors and characters from the prequel trilogy, as well as other Star Wars projects. Yes, it's been rumored that Hayden Christensen will return, but that definitely hasn't been confirmed at this point.
While waiting for Obi-Wan Kenobi to return to our lives on Disney+, let's all relish the fact that Ewan McGregor will be voicing Jiminy Cricket in the upcoming stop-action animated take on Pinocchio. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more on that upcoming series, as well as The Mandalorian Season 2, which is hitting Disney+ in October.