Ewan McGregor Almost Turned Down Obi-Wan Role in Star Wars

Ewan McGregor Almost Turned Down Obi-Wan Role in Star Wars
Image credit: Lucasfilm, Legion-Media, Disney+

At the time, the actor was looking forward to starring in another project and had to think twice about accepting the role in The Phantom Menace.


  • Ewan McGregor 's portrayal of Obi-Wan Kenobi was one of the few unquestionably great things about the Star Wars prequels
  • However, the actor had to think long and hard before agreeing to the role, as he had a completely different project in mind
  • The backlash the movie received also worried McGregor, who knew he had two more films to star in

Back in the day, the Star Wars prequel trilogy caused a massive controversy among fans that could rival the (relatively) recent backlash that the sequels have faced. Remember when the highly anticipated Episode I was released in 1999, it failed to live up to many fans' expectations?

Things didn't really improve with the other two installments, with perhaps the only exception being Episode III, which was better than its predecessors, leading to a trend of hating the prequels that lasted for many years.

However, some things about the trilogy were positive right from the start, such as the beautiful soundtrack by John Williams, impressively choreographed lightsaber duels, and getting to see more different planets.

Ewan McGregor's Portrayal Of Obi-Wan Was Perfect

Ewan McGregor Almost Turned Down Obi-Wan Role in Star Wars - image 1

One of those great things, of course, was Ewan McGregor's portrayal of a younger version of Obi-Wan Kenobi, as the actor managed to capture the recognizable mannerisms of Alec Guinness, who portrayed the Jedi Knight in the original trilogy, and add his own unique touch to the character.

Over the course of three films, McGregor grew quite attached to the role, as he mentioned in various interviews, and even reprised it seventeen years after Episode III, portraying the Jedi once again in 2022's Obi-Wan Kenobi TV series.

But apparently that wasn't always the case, as McGregor revealed during his recent appearance at the Gothenburg Film Festival that he almost decided to turn down the role because he didn't think he was suited to play the Jedi.

After his breakthrough roles in 1994's Shallow Grave and 1996's Trainspotting, he considered himself "a Danny Boyle actor" at the time and was keeping a close eye on the director's next project, The Beach, which was much more important to McGregor.

McGregor Was Concerned By Massive Backlash Episode I Faced

Ewan McGregor Almost Turned Down Obi-Wan Role in Star Wars - image 2

Eventually, the actor lost the lead role in The Beach, which went to Leonardo DiCaprio, and joined the cast of Episode I, but the problems didn't end there, as according to McGregor, it was "hard" to be in a movie so universally hated and know that there were two more to come.

Thankfully, the public's perception of the prequel trilogy has changed drastically over time, as a significant number of fans who grew up with the films now wholeheartedly enjoy them, even though they had their fair share of flaws.

Fans point out that none of the actors were to blame for the poor reception of the prequels, as most of the films' problems came from the overall direction and writing, which the cast could not affect.

Furthermore, when the much more polarizing sequel trilogy came out, many of those who absolutely despised the prequels reconsidered their position, as they looked pretty decent compared to the new films.

The news that Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen would be reprising their roles in the Obi-Wan Kenobi TV series was greeted with a huge celebration by fans, showing just how much things have changed since the early 2000s.

Unfortunately, while the actor enjoyed doing it and would "love" to star in the second season, the chances of that happening are pretty slim considering the show turned out to be pretty underwhelming.

Still, hopefully he will reprise the character in a better Star Wars project sometime in the future.

Sources: Variety, Reddit

Did you love the actor's portrayal of the iconic Jedi?