Ewan McGregor admits he was terrified when it came to fighting Darth Vader in the Obi-Wan Kenobi show. After portraying him in all three installments of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, the beloved Scottish actor is set to make his return as the titular Jedi Master in the Disney+ series premiering on May 27. Set 10 years after Revenge of the Sith, the show will find Obi-Wan watching over a young Luke Skywalker on the Lars Homestead on Tatooine, raised by his Uncle Owen (Joel Edgerton) and Aunt Beru (Bonnie Piesse).
Also making their highly-anticipated return in Obi-Wan is Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker, who portrayed the character for the latter two installments of the prequel trilogy. The exact extent of Christensen’s involvement, or whether Vader will take off his helmet, is unclear. A few vague teases have been shared, such as he isn’t “fully formed” during the time Obi-Wan is set, though Darth Vader will be still be “very powerful.” Other than a single silhouetted image and his labored breathing being heard in the trailer, Vader has been noticeably absent from Obi-Wan‘s marketing campaign and the Jedi-hunters known as Inquisitors have instead been the focus.
Now, for the new issue of Total Film (via Games Radar), McGregor is opening up a bit about Darth Vader’s involvement in the show, admitting he was genuinely terrified while fighting the Sith Lord. The Obi-Wan actor had never met Vader in person before the show, and since rehearsals were done without the helmet, McGregor didn’t see Vader in full costume until they actually started shooting a scene together, which legitimately terrified him. Read what McGregor shared about the experience below:
“I’ve never met Darth Vader. I had rehearsed the scene with Vader, but not with the helmet on or anything like that. When we came to do the scene, when they shouted ‘action’, he had to come from behind me. I turned around, and fucking Darth Vader was coming at me. It was like I was six again. I’d never acted into Vader’s helmet. I’d never looked him in the eye.
“It scared the shit out of me. I’m not joking. It gave me a proper jolt of absolute fear. I was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s not acting. That’s real. I’m really, truly frightened right now.’ And the same thing would happen with the Stormtroopers. I’d worked with Clone troopers before, but so many of them were CGI. I never worked with Stormtroopers, and, again, I was like seven years old again. Because when you’re actually faced with a Stormtrooper, with a blaster, it’s like: ‘Fucking hell.’
“It’s like actual childhood memories of being scared. That’s how deeply it’s in us. I’ve acted for 30 years, and I’ve never been genuinely frightened when I’m acting frightened… But I had moments on this that were genuinely quite scary. It’s so funny.”
Obi-Wan and his former Padawan have had two fateful encounters on screen in live-action, one on the molten planet Mustafar in Revenge of the Sith and on the Death Star in A New Hope. Since the Obi-Wan series was conceived, it was likely the two would square off for a third lightsaber duel, which was all but confirmed by some early concept art and some recent promotional art for Obi-Wan Kenobi. McGregor’s comments are the latest tease giving fans an idea of what to expect from the “rematch of the century.”
Since he was still Anakin for their first fight on Mustafar and Obi-Wan was portrayed by Alec Guinness for their second, the Disney+ series is the first time McGregor has gotten up close and personal with Vader. It’s understandable he felt a legitimate sense of terror, as Vader is regarded as one of the most iconic, menacing and foreboding villains in cinematic history who has been striking fear into audiences since 1977, most recently for a memorable scene in Rogue One. Hopefully, Vader’s appearance in Obi-Wan Kenobi can live up to the immense hype.