From Men’s Journal:
“IRON MAN IS EATING A HOT DOG. The Little Mermaid is charging her cell phone. And I am lost.
It’s late August and I’ve come to Anaheim, California, for D23—a three-day event where Disney executives will announce programming for the company’s new Netflix killer, Disney+, a streaming service launching in November. […]
As for me, I’m supposed to meet Ewan McGregor somewhere in the bowels of this cavernous hall. If he’s hard to find, that’s by design. The dude’s been instructed to make himself scarce, lest he spoil today’s big surprise. The internet’s been rife with speculation for weeks, but he’s about to make it official: After a 15-year absence from the Star Wars universe, McGregor is set to reprise his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in a new TV series.
“It’s a fucking massive relief,” he tells me when I’m finally ushered into his trailer. “Because for four years, I’ve been having to lie to people about it.” […]
McGregor won’t shoot the Obi-Wan Kenobi series until next summer. But fans are already salivating for spoilers. Will they use de-aging technology on McGregor? Will we encounter Obi-Wan as a hermit on Tatooine? Will we see him try to dismantle the crime syndicate, Crimson Dawn (tying up loose ends from the Han Solo prequel)?
“The storyline sits between Episode III and Episode IV,” he says, dropping us a breadcrumb. The last time we saw him in the role, “the Jedi Order was falling apart. It will be interesting to take a character we know in a way and show him—Well, his arc will be quite interesting, I think, dealing with that the fact that all the Jedi were slaughtered with the end of Episode III. It’s quite something to get over.”
For the record, he hasn’t rewatched his own Star Wars films since they were first released, but he plans to. He mostly remembers them being disliked because “they were political.” (To paraphrase Jar Jar Binks, Meesa think he no remember good.) Of returning to the character after 15 years, he insists time is only an asset. “I want to get closer and closer to how Obi-Wan felt while Alec Guinness was playing him. I feel like I’m grayer and nearer him in age, so it’ll be easier to do that.”
He then reiterates the obvious: “I’m not allowed to tell you anything about it.” Though he did let it slip that the series will be six hour-long episodes. (Feast on that chum, fanboys!)
With that, an assistant comes to get him from his trailer. He’s due on stage in a few minutes, where Kathleen Kennedy—the head of Lucasfilm—will introduce him, telling the crowd: “After secrets and fibs and not being able to talk about it, I am thrilled to bring out a beloved member of the Star Wars family.”
When McGregor finally appears, there’s a standing ovation and the ground actually rumbles. He can’t contain that smile. The moment is so unabashedly genuine, so unironic, I thought: Where have I seen this before? Oh, right. The final frame of Trainspotting, when he walked toward a new future. Choose life!
We catch up by phone a few days later—just before he leaves for South America—and I ask what the moment felt like. “I spent most of the ’90s wishing I’d been a rock star,” he says. “I always felt it would be nice to know what that scream felt like. This is my version of that.”