Ewan McGregor has recalled his disappointment at the CGI version of Yoda that was used in two of his Star Wars prequels.
The Scottish actor portrayed Obi-Wan Kenobi in the polarising first revival of the long-running franchise, and remembered his excitement about acting alongside a puppet Yoda.
In 1999’s The Phantom Menace, Yoda was embodied by a puppet mastered by Frank Oz, but was rendered by CGI in his two subsequent appearances in 2002’s Attack of the Clones and 2005’s Revenge of the Sith.
“The first film I did, I was lucky to do my scenes with the Yoda puppet,” McGregor told actor Pedro Pascal during an interview for Variety. “And it was extraordinary, because I acted with him. I couldn’t believe I was acting with Yoda. There’s so many people operating him, and the stage is lifted up so they’re underneath the floor and we were literally walking next to each other — and he’s alive.
“Then every time George called cut, Yoda would die, because everyone just stops. It was sort of disturbing every time the end of the scene would come along.”
McGregor confessed to then being disappointed when the puppet Yoda went away for further sequels.
“They replaced him for our second film and our third film with the digital version of him, and it’s not nearly as endearing,” he said. “Also, we know Yoda as a puppet. We know him from the original movies as a puppet. So when it was suddenly computer generated, it didn’t feel like Yoda to me anymore.”
In The Mandalorian, Pascal’s Star Wars spin-off series on Disney Plus, a younger alien belonging to the same alien species as Yoda, and nicknamed “Baby Yoda” by fans, was embodied by a puppet.
Also during his interview with Pascal, McGregor discussed his ongoing sobriety, and how it has given him “joy and happiness and peace”.
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The Mandalorian can be streamed on Disney Plus now.