Ewan McGregor ‘channelled Sir Alec Guinness’ for Obi-Wan Kenobi role

Ewan McGregor has said he tried to “think and feel” Sir Alec Guinness when reprising his famous role in Star Wars.

Ewan McGregor as Obe Wan
Ewan McGregor as Obe Wan

Obi-Wan Kenobi appeared in the first six Star Wars films, played by Sir Alec in episodes IV-VI and then by McGregor in episodes I-III.

The upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi TV series for Disney+ will see McGregor reprise his role more than 15 years after he starred in the three Star Wars prequels from 1999 to 2005.

He said: “It all came from Alec Guinness, he has this wit behind his eyes, he had a twinkle.

Ewan McGregor at a photo call ahead of the release of Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi

“I guess that’s in the writing, but for me I always try and think of him and try to feel him, hear him saying the lines.

“That’s why I think the writing was so, so good in this because right from the word go, all of his dialogue felt to me like it could have been Alec Guinness saying it, then I knew we were on the right path.”

The new Star Wars spin-off series begins 10 years after the events of the film Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith where Kenobi faced the downfall and corruption of his best friend and Jedi apprentice, Anakin Skywalker.

Perthshire-born McGregor said: “For 10 years Obi-Wan has been in hiding living a solitary life, in a way he has lost his faith, like someone who has lost their religion.

“It was just interesting to take a character that we know and love from Alec Guinness’s creation of the character in the 70s, this wise spiritual sage-like man, to take him to a more broken place was really interesting to do.

“Just being closer to Alec Guinness was interesting.”

The series also marks the return of Hayden Christensen in the role of the classic Star Wars villain.

Talking about his relationship with the Canadian actor, McGregor said: “We were so close when we made episode one and two together.

“We filmed it in Australia, so both away from home and we had so much training for the fights together and then being on set together but also because we were so far from home, we spent a lot of time outside of work together – so we were close.

“Over the years we lost touch, I hadn’t seen him for years but when I saw him again, it was great.

“When we were filming together it was like some time-warp, looking across at him on set it was like the last 17 years didn’t happen.”

McGregor, 51, said it was a “long slow process” and he had to work on his light saber moves and the Kenobi voice.

He said: “Luckily we had months before we actually started shooting so I went back and did some homework watching Alec Guinness and what I had done in the other films.

“But playing him felt like he had always been there, ready to come out any minute, just his voice needed a bit of work.”

The actor added that it was the Star Wars fans’ devotion for the films that convinced him to be part of the next instalment.

The upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi TV series is part of a collection of live-action Star Wars shows being created for Disney+.

Obi-Wan Kenobi will be available on Disney+ from May 25.