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‘We Still Had To Make Another Two!’: Star Wars’ Ewan McGregor Recalls Struggling With Phantom Menace’s Poor Reviews

 Ewan McGregor in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.
Ewan McGregor in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

The Star Wars franchise is still one of the biggest, and most successful, names in the history of cinema, despite the fact that for every movie that fans adore, there is likely at least one more that they really don’t like. While the original Star Wars trilogy is iconic, the prequels, when they were first released, were not met with the same level of adoration, which Ewan McGregor admits was tough, especially since they weren’t done.

Star Wars: The Phanom Menace was a box office juggernaut. The first Star Wars movie in over a decade was always going to be a blockbuster, but once people had actually seen it there was a bit less love for the film. While not everybody hated The Phantom Menace, it perhaps wasn’t exactly what fans had been expecting, and fans especially were hard on the film. McGregor’s performance as Obi-Wan Kenobi was generally seen as one of the film’s highlights, but the actor tells Variety that the early criticism was tough because they still had to go back and make more of them.

I am happy that I am this character for a lot of people, but when these films came out, they were so disliked. That was hard. The first one was panned and we still had to make another two! It was weird to be in a film that was hammered.

Prior to getting into Star Wars Ewan McGregor had mostly been in independent films. He’d been in some critically acclaimed projects, like Trainspotting. But even if a movie wasn’t beloved, it didn’t receive a massive amount of criticism. That certainly changed when he became part of this massive franchise where everybody was going to have an opinion on the new Star Wars movie. And going into film sequels probably didn't feel great after the way the first movie was received.

In the years since the Star Wars prequels have been reevaluated, and while they might not be seen as the best movies ever, they are generally seen as more positive than they once were. If you watch the Star Wars movies in order, you at least get through some of the rough stuff early. If nothing else, McGregor’s role as Obi-Wan is beloved, so much so that he eventually returned to it, after years of fans asking for more.

Fans are still asking for more Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan. For his [part the actor would be more than willing if they decide to do a second series of the Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney+, but he says there’s been no movement on such a thing…

I would love to do the second season, but there’s no talk of it yet. There is a lot going on at Disney.

This is in line with what Joel Edgerton recently said about an Obi-Wan Season 2. There are certainly a lot of upcoming Star Wars movies and TV shows coming both to Disney+ and big screens. Another season of Obi-Wan would likely be a long way off if it happens at all, but we’ll have to wait and see.