When Disney acquired Lucasfilm in Oct. 2012 for $4 billion, it was clear the Mouse House had the intent to revamp the franchise. What no one could imagine at the time was how expansive the Star Wars universe would become… on the small screen.
With The Force Awakens, Lucasfilm looked to kickstart a new story within the beloved franchise by bringing back some of the core cast members of the original trilogy. While the latest trilogy hasn’t necessarily been the rest-received, Lucasfilm has had better luck on the small screen thanks to The Mandalorian. Now, the studio is looking to explore characters we’ve come to know before whether it be through the films or animated series. One of those projects is the long-rumored Obi-Wan, which brings back both Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensenfrom the prequel films. As exciting as their returns to the franchise might be, the stars haven’t always had the best reaction to being a part of the Star Wars universe – and rightfully so.
In a new interview with Vanity Fair, McGregor explains how the poor reception to 1999’s The Phantom Menace affected the cast and crew knowing there were still two more installments ahead. “It was hard because it was such a huge decision to do them, such a big event. It was quite difficult for all of us to deal with that, also knowing you’ve got a couple more to do.”
For the actor, getting to put Star Wars behind him was exactly what he needed. Then in 2017, he was invited to introduce a film as part of a marathon of every Star Wars film. It was this that essentially reignited his love of the character, so when he was later asked if he would ever return to the role, McGregor’s answer was much different than before. The actor was willing to return, but it wasn’t until Kathleen Kennedy approached him to be sure he truly meant yes that things began to fall into place.
At the time, the plan was to make Obi-Wan Kenobi a feature film which would’ve been directed by Stephen Daldry(Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close). McGregor was on board to not only star in and produce the project, but after the project morphed into a television series for Disney+, Daldry exited the project which then brought Deborah Chow on board. It was important that the series considered whether or not it wanted to bring back characters from the prequels, which eventually resulted in Chow sitting down with Christensen about reprising his role as Anakin Skywalker. Much like McGregor, Christensen hadn’t had the best experience with the prequels, but Chow assured the actor that the series would “would add a new dimension that could ultimately reframe the way fans look at their classic duel in the original movie.”
For Christensen, part of the appeal was getting to explore a new layer to his character. “I was originally hired to play a very specific portion of this person’s life. Most of my work was with Anakin. And now I get to come back and explore the character of Darth Vader.”
Fans will get to see the two characters battle it out once again when Obi-Wan premieres later this month on Disney+.
Source: Vanity Fair