2020 may be a challenging year all around, but if there’s one silver lining, it might be this: it’s a good time to be a Star Wars fan. Whether you were in the camp that was please by the recently-completed “Sequel Trilogy” or not, most genre fans can agree that the “extended universe” of story-telling in the galaxy far, far away is really firing on all cylinders right now: the much-beloved ‘Star Wars: Clone Wars’ animated series got it’s long-awaited seventh and final season earlier this year, and 2019’s successful launch of the first season of the live-action TV series ‘The Mandalorian’ pleased fans and critics in a near-universal fashion, amping up excitement for Season 2 to debut next month.
On the horizon for the franchise is the live-action limited series featuring long-time character Obi-Wan Kenobi. In the original trilogy of films, the character was portrayed by Sir Alec Guinness, and in the “Prequel Trilogy” of films from the early 2000s, the character was memorably brought to life by Ewan McGregor. Now, McGregor prepares to revisit the character in the upcoming TV stint, which will commence filming soon-ish, as the global pandemic situation allows.
In a recent interview with Empire, McGregor took the opportunity to talk about his time filming Episodes I, II, and III almost 20 years ago, along with his thoughts on how fan opinions about the films have changed over the years:
“You know, our films weren’t much liked when they came out, by my generation who loved the first ones. I think people of our generation wanted to feel the way they’d felt when they saw those first three movies when they were kids, and George [Lucas] wanted to take our ones in a different direction, he had a different idea. It was tricky at the time, I remember. But now, all these years later, I’m really aware of what our films meant to the generation they were made for, the children of that time. They really like them. I’ve met people who, they mean a lot to them, those films, more so than the original three, and I’m like, ‘Are you kidding?’”
The actor also recalled some of the technical challenges in shooting the films, and how things will be markedly different in shooting the new series:
“The first three [Star Wars films] I did were really at the very beginning of digital photography. We had a camera with an umbilical cord to a tent, it was like back to the beginning of movies where the camera didn’t move very much because there was so much hardware attached to it. Now we’re going to be able to really create stuff without swathes of green-screen and blue-screen, which becomes very tedious for the actor.”
McGregor, of course, is referring to The Volume, the cutting-edge large high-resolution video wall used to create immersive backgrounds in ‘The Mandalorian’ which will also be used on the Obi-Wan Kenobi series. Fans will get to see more of the innovative digital effects in the second season of ‘The Mandalorian’ starting in October, long before McGregor’s new series will ramp up its production.
The Obi-Wan TV series is expected to begin shooting in 2021, with a release date on Disney+ to follow.