"Well, of course I know him. He's me!" Those are the words old Ben Kenobi (Alec Guinness) tells Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) when revealing himself to be the Jedi Obi-Wan in Star Wars: A New Hope. In Obi-Wan Kenobi, set nine years before that fated meeting, the younger Jedi Master (Ewan McGregor) is the hermit guardian watching over a 10-year-old Luke (Grant Feely) on Tatooine. By the time of Obi-Wan, a decade has passed since the duel against Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen) in Revenge of the Sith. In a galaxy not so far, far away, it's been 17 years since McGregor, now 51, last wore the robes of the younger Obi-Wan in the Star Wars prequel trilogy.
Interviewed on Australia's The Project, McGregor revealed how he approached reprising the character more than twenty years after first playing the young Jedi in 1999's The Phantom Menace.
"[Obi-Wan] is always Alec Guinness to me. When I play him, I always have to have a sense of Alec Guinness," he said. "And now I'm closer to him in age — I didn't realize he was 63 when he made [Star Wars] ... I'm getting closer to that age now (laughs). As I get closer to him, I have to be more like him, I suppose."
McGregor continued, "It's always been my mission to make my Obi-Wan Kenobi grow up into Alec Guinness, so I've always got Alec in my head."
McGregor studied Guinness' performance in the original Star Wars trilogy, but nearly two decades removed from Sith, had to relearn his Obi-Wan voice after losing the accent he had used little outside of brief voice cameos in The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker.
"I don't try and do an impersonation of him," McGregor said of Guinness, "but I do try and make it sound familiar, like the way he speaks and the rhythm of his delivery."
Obi-Wan Kenobi begins 10 years after the dramatic events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith where Obi-Wan Kenobi faced his greatest defeat—the downfall and corruption of his best friend and Jedi apprentice, Anakin Skywalker, who turned to the dark side as evil Sith Lord Darth Vader.
Starring Ewan McGregor, Moses Ingram, Rupert Friend, Joel Edgerton, Bonnie Piesse, Indira Varma, Sung Kang, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Benny Safdie, Kumail Nanjiani, and Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader, Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi is streaming May 27 on Disney+.