Ewan McGregor Says His Obi-Wan Kenobi Is Still Inspired By Alec Guinness

Obi-Wan Kenobi

Despite the obvious differences, there are also a number of similarities in an actor tackling a biopic or inheriting a role that had previously been brought to iconic life by somebody else in a prequel or reboot. You want to honor the legacy of either the real-life figure or fictional character without veering too far into outright impersonation, while also putting your own stamp on it to ensure that it’s not a direct retread.

It’s a difficult balancing act, but it would be safe to say that Ewan McGregor pulled it off when he stepped into Alec Guinness’ shoes as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequels. Some of the mannerisms and hints of the accent were familiar, but the younger spin on the legendary Jedi became a cult hero on his own right, with next year’s Disney Plus streaming series arguably the most hotly-anticipated project hailing from a galaxy far, far away in years.

In a new interview, McGregor revealed that he’s still inspired by Guinness’ Academy Award nominated performance in A New Hope, even though he’s brought plenty of his own personality to Obi-Wan, and he’s got the leeway to take that further seeing as fans have been clamoring to see the Scottish star make a comeback for over fifteen years.

“I was watching a lot of Alec Guinness movies and found some amazing pieces of work. He was really one of Britain’s finest and most prolific actors, and now I was lucky enough to be playing the young version of him. So I’ve been doing that again lately, and partly the way of doing that is not trying to do an impersonation of his voice, but just trying to do my version.

You know, what Alec Guinness might have been like, as a young Obi-Wan Kenobi, as opposed to the one that we know when he was an older man. I need to touch base with him every week or so just to make sure I’m not getting too far. But I would say, by the time you’re on set, shooting, you’re not really thinking too much about it. You shouldn’t be trying to remember your lines. You should be saying your lines because you know them.”

It’s not often that the same character gets two equally iconic portrayals, but you can definitely put Obi-Wan Kenobi on that list. It’s been 44 years since A New Hope and sixteen since Revenge of the Sith, but Guinness and McGregor are still legends who find themselves widely-quoted by the Star Wars fanbase on a regular basis, and audiences can’t wait to say “hello there” to the latter when his show hits Disney Plus.