Turns out somebody out there decided to have a Prequel Appreciation Week! I found out via somebody in “the” Star Wars group, and with a bit of searching found the information from the friends over at SWPAS. The original idea, though, belongs to this Tumblr, and you’ll be able to find more posts and, as Tumblr-always, gifs by checking them out.
This sounded like something I should seriously get in on and do, so here we go, amid all the new construction sawdust etc., it’s time to talk Prequels!
Day 1 of the Prequel Appreciation Week. Your favorite prequels actor.
All too easy, as Darth Vader once said.
There is almost no other way to answer this question than by saying Ewan McGregor. In many respects, Ewan McGregor made the Prequel Trilogy.
I mean, yeah, the first time I saw the Episode I poster, I didn’t care about Obi-Wan. I didn’t like Ben Kenobi, and didn’t care about who he was going to be in the movies. He was the guy who ruined Vader and who was old and annoying — “Where did you dig up that old fossil?” So all I cared about as Episode I rolled around was Qui-Gon. Man, that guy looked cool!
I don’t remember when exactly I first noticed that young Obi-Wan was hot. I was 14, so it probably didn’t take long. It did take me a long time to think Ewan was hot in non-Obi-Wan roles, and I signed a petition in 2000 begging George Lucas to put off the beard until distant “Episode III.”
But as it gets toward 17 years since I first watched The Phantom Menace, as I mature and my relationship with Star Wars matures, . . . oh, do I see stuff in his performance that justifies my opinion that Ewan makes the prequel trilogy worth watching.
He isn’t given much to work with in Episode I, I’ll grant you that. I remember a ’99 interview where he said he just stands around and scowls. But Ewan still manages to express Obi-Wan’s fundamental personality, the dazzling skills and rule-bound hesitations of a man destined to become one of the Order’s greatest generals.
Like everything else in the Prequel Trilogy, Obi-Wan gets the short stick in Attack of the Clones, and some of his best moments are in Revenge of the Sith. Pause for a shout-out to my beloved Dex and the Dex’s diner scene — Obi-Wan is a man who cultivates relationships, friendships, and allies anywhere and everywhere, because you never know. Surely this is something he learned from his master, whose unusual liaisons throughout the Jedi Apprentice books showed Obi-Wan that support could always be found somewhere outside the Temple if not in it.
But for emotional roller coasting, Ewan gets the full gamut in E3, from pride to disappointment, shock and betrayal, self-assurance, victory and defeat. It’s all in there. If “You were the chosen one!” doesn’t bring tears to your eyes, you might not be human. And if I’m being honest, it was Ewan’s performance in Revenge of the Sith that finally made me enjoy A New Hope. He flawlessly channeled Alec Guinness and made a character I never cared much about (cf.) into someone I’m essentially in love with.
There is no disconnect whatsoever, I really believe the guy in Episode I is the same as the guy in Episode IV, and no matter how frustrating, no matter what shortcomings, that’s pure acting genius right there. Ewan McGregor has it. And holds it. He’s the man.