It is neither a statement or a stance to say that Star Wars prequels were bad movies. Except for few notable scenes and moments, only cringe moments from the movies are remembered by the fans. Whether it is the “sand” line or Jar-Jar‘s existence. But Ewan McGregor lays the blame on technology, specially George Lucas‘ fascination with them while subsequent movies were being filmed.
Star Wars prequels told the story of Anakin Skywalker as his transition from a Jedi master to Darth Vader of the original series is traced. In what was the most anticipated movie series of the new millennia Phantom Menace dashed millions of fan’s hopes with CGI creatures and a disjointed story that felt like it was serving the background of the movie, instead of the other way around.
There are still reviews from the movie complaining about style over substance and anyone seeing the movies now, in today’s screens will tell you, those CGI creatures and backgrounds look horrible. That was the downfall of the Star Wars prequels and Ewan McGregor is still hurt because all of the people put so much work into the film to be so universally panned by fans and the critics alike. And two decades later, he knows the issue and explains why the series failed to live up to the lofty expectations.
Ewan McGregor Thinks Developing Technology and George Lucas’ Divided Focus Made the Work Tedious on Star Wars Prequels
Ewan McGregor joined the Stars Wars prequels to play Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Jedi master in exile from the original series who sends Luke Skywalker on a journey across the galaxy. A younger Obi-Wan was still learning the Jedi mastery under the tutelage of Qui-Gon Jinn in Phantom Menace but came into his own and became the warrior he would later be known as.
It was a great task to play such a loved character from the original series that is why when he talks about having a tedious time on set, there is obviously something going wrong. With the turn of the century also came the explosion of technology in movie making, green screen was everywhere and CGI was being used more and more.
The existance of excess is evident for all to see in the Star Wars prequels and it got bad as the series progressed. Ewan Mcgregor said that was due to George Lucas’ obsession with the evolving technology and his fascination with the background instead of the actors who are asked to convey passion and emotion on screen.
With nothing to look at or aim for, the words were not having the effect and George was going after the look of the movie. It all compounded into a collection of bad decision that pushed a beloved franchise to the edge, ending hopes for a sequel series with Fox for a few years. Years later Ewan McGregor is still hurt as he explained, “It was hard they didn’t get well received. That was quite difficult. They were universally not very much liked,”
“George loves technology and loves pushing into that realm,” McGregor recalled. “He wanted more and more control over what we see in the background… After three or four months of that, it just gets really tedious — especially when the scenes are … I don’t want to be rude, but it’s not Shakespeare. There’s not something to dig into in the dialogue that can satisfy you when there’s no environment there. It was quite hard to do,” Ewan told The Hollywood Reporter.
While actors have grown accustomed to working with green and blue screens, they are however more interactive as actors can see the surrounding and their characters on the monitors. Tennis balls or stand-in actors are used to get better performances from the actors but back then, a developing technology so prominently used in Star Wars prequels, it was obviously jarring for the actors involved.
But that does not seem to be the case for in Obi-Wan series coming to Disney+. The same interactive dome LCD area build for The Mandalorian will be used for the highly anticipated series. Known as Stagecraft, the LCD screen can show the surrounding for the actor in real time and every external environment can be controlled by computers allowing for a seamless melding for real and fabricated world.
Well, at least Ewan McGregor is happy and excited to be back as Obi-Wan in the Disney+ series. With the casting done and production going full steam ahead, the premier is not far away.
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