Obi-Wan Kenobi stars overjoyed by 'Star Wars' prequel love after 's*****' critical response
Watch: Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen on the love for the Star Wars prequels
Obi-Wan Kenobi star Hayden Christensen says the new-found love for the Star Wars prequels among fans is 'heartwarming', and played a part in him returning to play Darth Vader.
"When they came to me and presented me with this opportunity [to return as Vader], it was a no-brainer," Christensen tells Yahoo ahead of the launch of the new Disney+ series on Friday.
"I was really excited to get back into this character."
Read more: Ewan McGregor pays tribute to George Lucas
Released over a six-year period from 1999-2005, the Star Wars prequels charted the journey of Anakin Skywalker from wide-eyed Jedi hopeful to vengeful Sith lord over three movies, with Trainspotting star Ewan McGregor playing Obi-Wan Kenobi, the role previously inhabited by Sir Alec Guinness.
"The way I felt about Star Wars — as a kid — [it was] pretty important," McGregor tells us looking back.
Coming just 16 years after the original Star Wars trilogy concluded, expectations were sky high, but critics were not kind and Christensen and McGregor both admit they were disheartened by the response at the time.
"To join that family and play someone as iconic as Alec Guinness' character in Star Wars," recalls McGregor, "and then for everybody to be pretty s***** about it afterwards was hard. It was hard."
Read more: Everything new on Disney+ in May
McGregor has previously admitted not enjoying working on the second and third prequel movies, but fandom for the prequel trilogy has grown in the intervening years driven — in part — by a growing meme culture around the films.
"We didn't hear the appreciation for the films when they came out, because all that generation were kids, and it was difficult," McGregor explains. "There wasn't social media then, we just didn't hear it really. The main reaction we heard about was the critics, who decided not to like them very much, and were pretty crappy about them, so that's what we were left with."
For Star Wars fans who grew up with the prequels, the return of Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen in Obi-Wan Kenobi is as exciting — if not more — than the return of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill in The Force Awakens.
"After some years, to start feeling the appreciation for the [prequel] films," adds McGregor, "and the fact that for that generation, we made their Star Wars films, the same way that Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher and Alec Guinness made my Star Wars films, was important.
"And it changed things for me, it made me feel happier about part of it."
Picking up Kenobi's story 10 years after Revenge of the Sith, the new Disney+ show finds the Jedi knight in exile on Tatooine, keeping a watchful but distant eye on Vader's son Luke Skywalker, while Vader continues on his mission to wipe out the last of Jedi.
Obi-Wan Kenobi launches with two episodes on Disney+ on Friday, 27 May, with episodes released weekly thereafter. Watch a trailer below.