Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen on the 'heartwarming' love for the Star Wars prequels
So far, Star Wars Celebration has had plenty of buzzy moments, from the much-hyped first trailer for Andor to the surprise appearance of everyone's favorite Corellian smuggler, Harrison Ford. But the largest cheers were reserved for Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen, who reunited on stage Thursday, greeting fans with a long-overdue "Hello there."
Not only does this year mark 20 years since the pair first fought side-by-side in Attack of the Clones, but now they're teaming up again for Obi-Wan Kenobi, the six-episode miniseries that reunites Obi-Wan and his ally-turned-enemy Anakin Skywalker — better known now as Darth Vader. EW sat down with McGregor and Christensen shortly after they walked off the Celebration stage, and they spoke about how the response to their Star Wars films has shifted over the years — and how it's caused them both to reassess their own views.
"It's just so heartwarming," Christensen says. "I've always felt that the fans got it. That was never in question for me. But certainly, the critics wanted to find all the flaws that they could. If you're looking for flaws in anything, you can find something. But these stories are for the fans. They're meant to bring joy and happiness to people, so it means a lot to get to witness that now to the degree that we do. It's amazing."
McGregor added that he's always been proud of their work on the prequels, but after the initial critical response, he tried to move on and keep the films at a distance. After working on Obi-Wan Kenobi and refamiliarizing himself with the Star Wars fandom, though, he's found himself rethinking that view.
"I feel like I'm able to claim it, in a way, which I don't know that I've ever done properly," McGregor explains. "I feel like there was a sort of challenge to making the films. The technology that George [Lucas] was utilizing at the time was a lot of bluescreen and greenscreen to allow him to build the worlds that he built. But for us, the actors, it was hard to make emotional moments realistic when you're surrounded by nothing and oftentimes speaking to nothing. Your scene partner is a tennis ball on a stick, and it's hard work. I was just saying to Hayden, no one phoned it in. We all came with our A games, and we all tried our best. And then, for the critics not to like them… The noise that came at us afterwards wasn't positive.
"So I feel like I maybe sort of put my blinkers on a little bit to the Star Wars world to an extent and just went on with my career and have been lucky to do the work I've done," he continues. "But I did play Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequels! And I liked what we did! And I liked the experience of doing it! So I was really glad to stand on that stage this morning and feel that."
The two men say they drifted apart in the years since wrapping the films, but when they met again to start preparing for Obi-Wan Kenobi, it felt like no time had passed. Still, they say, it wasn't until they were back on set together that they truly felt at home.
"Just seeing him again as Obi-Wan was such a thrilling sight," Christensen says. "We got together a little before we started filming, just to catch up, but seeing him again as this character was mind-blowing."
"The atmosphere on set was really electric that day," McGregor recalls. "I came on set, and I'd been shooting for a little while before Hayden started. I couldn't believe how many people were there. I was looking around, going, 'There's so many people on set today!' I couldn't figure out what was going on. And then the penny clicked when [he] walked out in the suit, and I was like, 'Oh yeah, everyone's here to see Hayden as Vader.'"
For more from McGregor and Christensen, as well as their Obi-Wan Kenobi costars Rupert Friend and Moses Ingram, watch the video above.
Ewan McGregor returns to Tatooine to fill in the gaps of what happened to the Jedi Master between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.