Ever since Lucasfilm announced it would be spinning off the main Star Wars franchise with standalone, individual films for the first time ever, fans have been hounding Ewan McGregor about reprising his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi from the prequels. And all this time, McGregor has been lying his butt off.
Lucasfilm and Disney announced this summer that McGregor will indeed be playing Obi-Wan again in an upcoming TV series for the streaming service Disney+, but his return to the Star Wars universe has been in the works longer than people might think. Word first broke about McGregor’s potential return in 2017, when it was reported that an Obi-Wan movie was in development with Stephen Daldry at the helm. That project got scrapped after Solo: A Star Wars Story bombed at the box office, but it was reborn as this upcoming Disney+ streaming service.
Appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! last night, McGregor admitted that he’s been talking to Disney and Lucasfilm about playing Obi-Wan again ever since they first announced that they were making spinoffs. And he’s been lying to fans and the press this whole time:
“It got difficult. I was brought up to tell the truth, and I was in a situation where I wasn’t really allowed to. The studios and the big franchises want to keep everything very secret and as closed as it can be, and rightly so. But at the same time there’s this overwhelming amount of speculation online and on social media and what have you, and wherever I went for the last 10 years people would ask me, ‘Would you do it again?’ Once they started doing spinoffs of course everyone was like, ‘Are you gonna do an Obi-Wan Kenobi spinoff?’ and I was talking to Lucasfilm and Disney about that, but of course I couldn’t say that I was. So I’d have to go, ‘Well you know if they wanted to do one I’d be quite interested in doing it,’ and it started to look a bit like I was just trying to get the part—which for a man of my standing was quite humiliating.”
While McGregor is a little off on his timeline—Disney didn’t buy Lucasfilm until 2012, and shortly thereafter word got out that the new Lucasfilm was considering spinoffs for characters like Boba Fett, Yoda, and of course Han Solo—it’s interesting to note that he was approached about returning to the role so long ago. Lucasfilm, under new management by Kathleen Kennedy, was deep in figuring out what the new Star Wars trilogy would be in those early days, but at the same time Kennedy and her team were quietly enlisting McGregor to make his triumphant return in a spinoff movie.
All those years of lying will pay off when the Obi-Wan series hits Disney+, but we still have a while to wait. The show doesn’t start production until 2020 and likely won’t hit the streaming service until 2021. On the bright side, at least McGregor doesn’t have to lie about it anymore.