Ewan McGregor may be picking up his lightsaber again. The 48-year-old Scottish actor may be reprising his role as the heartfelt but headstrong Jedi master known as Obi-Wan Kenobi in a yet-to-be-titled Disney+ series, Deadline has confirmed.
Details about the series following the Jedi master are being kept under wraps. McGregor played the younger version of the wise but irascible Star Wars icon in the three prequel films: The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005). McGregor also revisited the role to make a voice-only cameo in the Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).
Alec Guinness introduced the role of Ben “Obi-Wan” Kenobi in 1977 in Star Wars, the original installment in George Lucas’ space opera, which was later renamed Star Wars: A New Hope. Kenobi was struck down in that first film during a heart-wrenching light saber confrontation with Darth Vader aboard the huge space station called the Death Star, but the old Jedi wizard returned as a disembodied voice or spectral vision in the film’s two mega-successful sequels, The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983).
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Guinness died in 2000 after a storied acting career that included roles in The Bridge on the River Kwai, Dr. Zhivago, Kind Hearts and Coronets, as well as Lawrence of Arabia, the David Lean-directed epic that both Lucas and Steven Spielberg have described as a North Star influence on their own bodies of work. By casting Guinness, Lucas wisely imported the gravitas of that epic career into his Jedi universe but the actor himself was famously unimpressed with the filmmaker’s interstellar saga, which the British stage veteran dismissed as “fairy tale rubbish.”
McGregor inherited the beloved role with all the major pressure and smothering legacy that goes with any generational pivot-point in the fantasy saga, which long ago transcended blockbuster franchise status to become almost a quasi-religion (or pathological retail obsession) for millions of fans. McGregor delivered in a big way, adding dimension and depth to his character even when the often wonky dialogue did him no favors on either front.
McGregor had made a name for himself with memorable turns in compelling indie fare like Trainspotting, Brassed Off, and Shallow Grave, but the 1999 global relaunch of Star Wars took him to a new strata in his career. He would add notable successes with films such as Moulin Rouge, Black Hawk Down, Angels & Demons, The Ghost Writer, and Beginners, and this he will be seen in the role of Black Mask in the Birds of Prey film and in Doctor Sleep, in which he portrays the grown-up survivor of the Overlook Hotel massacre depicted in The Shining.
All Star Wars films will be available on the Disney+ platform.
The new Star Wars series will join the previously announced The Mandalorian from Jon Favreau and starring Pedro Pascal. That series takes place years after the events of Return of the Jedi and follows a lone Mandalorian gunfighter on the volatile rim planets beyond the reaches of law and order. The series will debut on November 12, the Disney+ launch date.
Disney+ will also have a Star Wars spinoff series starring Diego Luna and Alan Tudyk reprising their Rogue One characters Cassian Andor and K-2S0. Stephen Schiff will serve as showrunner.