Ewan McGregor: Star Wars' Wedge actor link made me take Obi-Wan role

Wedge in Star Wars
Wedge in Star Wars was played by Ewan McGregor's uncle. (Image credit: Disney)

Ewan McGregor has spoken about the part his real-life actor uncle Dennis Lawson, who played Wedge in the original Star Wars movies, played in him first taking the part of Obi-Wan Kenobi 

It's been more than two decades since Ewan picked up a lightsaber in The Phantom Menace, but he'll be stepping back into the Star Wars universe in the new Disney Plus spin-off, Obi-Wan Kenobi this month. 

When What to Watch spoke to him recently, Ewan looked back on his appearance in the Star Wars prequel trilogy from 1999 to 2005 and revealed how he'd wanted to be in Star Wars since seeing his uncle play an X-Wing pilot. 

"My uncle Dennis Lawson played a pilot called Wedge Antilles in the original trilogy and my brother and I knew every line, so I wanted to be a part of that world," he explains. "I remember in the run-up to being cast as Obi-wan Kenobi back in the 1990s, I spent a lot of time wondering whether I should take the part and what it would mean for my career, because I was doing grungy films like Trainspotting at the time." 

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi. (Image credit: Disney Plus)

"In the end I did it because I loved Star Wars when I was a kid. However when our prequels came out they weren’t very well received, so I threw myself back into my other work. I was proud of the Star Wars prequels, but I didn’t want them to define my career."

Yet Ewan says it was one of his other most famous roles, that of Mark Renton in Trainspotting, which eventually persuaded him to return to the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

"I remember going back to make the Trainspotting sequel and that was an amazing experience, so I began to see how interesting it could be to return to a character 20 years later," he explains. "I was also more aware of people who liked the prequel trilogy we made 20 years ago. The generation of Star Wars fans who were kids at the time they came out really loved them, so I’m their Obi-wan, just like Alec Guinness was mine. People were always asking me if I would play him again in interviews and I just started saying yes!"

Set in a galaxy far, far away, the much-anticipated six-part series takes place in the years after the Jedi Master's one-time best friend and apprentice, Anakin Skywalker, turned to the dark side and became the evil Sith Lord, Darth Vader. 

Now, with the Jedi being hunted by the Empire, Obi-Wan finds himself in hiding on the desert planet of Tatooine, where he keeps a watchful eye over the young Luke Sykwalker, in the hope he will one day be able to use the force to defeat his father. 

Obi-Wan Kenobi will arrive on Disney Plus on Friday 27 May

Sean Marland
Feature writer for TV Times, What's On TV, TV & Satellite Week and whattowatch.com

Sean has been writing about all things telly for over 10 years and in that time he's been lucky enough to interview stars like Ian McKellen, Tom Hardy and Kate Winslet. His favourite shows are The Great British Bake-Off, People Just Do Nothing and Succession and in his spare time he enjoys drinking tea, doing crosswords and watching football.