Why Ewan McGregor Was ‘Extraordinarily Lucky’ to Act Opposite Phantom Menace’s Infamous Yoda Puppet | IGN

Ewan McGregor considers himself “extraordinarily lucky” to have been able to act opposite the puppet version of Yoda used in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, before Yoda was replaced by CGI in the later sequels.

Yoda was famously a puppet character in the original three Star Wars movies and fans were happy to see Yoda return as a puppet in the first prequel. But Yoda in Episode 2 and 3 was a CGI character and this change made McGregor, who played Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequels, feel lucky about his time on set of The Phantom Menace, according to IndieWire.

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“The first film I did, I was lucky to do my scenes with the Yoda puppet,” McGregor said in an interview with Pedro Pascal, who plays Din Djarin on Disney Plus’ The Mandalorian, in Variety’s Actors on Actors series. “And it was extraordinary, because I acted with him. I couldn’t believe I was acting with Yoda.”

The actor, who’s set to reprise his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in a new Disney Plus series about the character, recalled just how many people were operating the alien jedi master puppet and how the stage was lifted up in such a way that McGregor could actually walk beside Yoda on set.

As much as he enjoyed working with a puppet version of Yoda, it led to many a “disturbing” take when filming the movie.

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“[E]very time George called cut, Yoda would die, because everyone just stops,” McGregor said. “It was sort of disturbing every time the end of the scene would come along. Then they replaced him for our second film and our third film with the digital version of him and it’s not nearly as endearing.”

McGregor remarked how he and and the world knew Yoda as a puppet because “we know him from the original movies as a puppet.” Then, when Yoda became a CGI character, it didn’t feel like Yoda anymore, McGregor said.

He told Pascal that “it was intereting that it went back to an actual puppet with your series,” which is a reference to Grogu, aka Baby Yoda, in The Mandalorian.

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On that same note, McGregor explained to Pascal that he’s having an “amazing time” filming the Obi-Wan Kenobi series due to how little they’re using green screens and blue screens, which is the opposite of the Star Wars sequel trilogy’s infamous use of such technology.

“I’m having such an amazing time down there with that incredible technology, and not being in front of too much green screen and blue screen,” McGregor said. “It’s like the beginning of Hollywood. It’s almost like when they had three-sided sets all in a row and a bunch of guys with windup cameras and you would just go from one stage to the other.”

Obi-Wan Kenobi started filming in April. An official release date for the series has not yet been announced. While waiting to learn more about the series, check out this story about how McGregor teased a new costume for Obi-Wan Kenobi and a “very special scene” and then read about how Hayden Christensen’s return could solve a major Darth Vader mystery.

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Wesley LeBlanc is a freelance news writer and guide maker for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @LeBlancWes.

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