Ewan McGregor's never met Darth Vader. Despite appearing in three Star Wars movies opposite Anakin Skywalker, the actor never met the villain while he was wearing the iconic suit and helmet. Thanks to the new Disney Plus series Obi-Wan Kenobi, though, McGregor finally had the opportunity to spar with a fully-clad Vader.
"I’ve never met Darth Vader," he tells Total Film in the new issue of the magazine, which features Obi-Wan Kenobi on the cover. "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," he chuckles. "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.”
McGregor was not the only one astounded by Vader’s appearance on set. "There was a moment of silence, collectively, when he first came onto set," director Deborah Chow, who previously worked on The Manadalorian, says. "Just having Vader standing in front of you is a crazy thing. It’s an amazing thing, but it’s very intense when you first start doing it."
In the cover story of the new issue of Total Film magazine, McGregor, Darth Vader actor Hayden Christensen, co-star Moses Ingram, and director Deborah Chow talk in-depth about Obi-Wan and his new adventure.
The first two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi will premiere on Disney Plus on Friday, May 27, with subsequent episodes premiering on Wednesdays. For much more from McGregor and co, check out the new issue of Total Film when it hits shelves on Thursday, April 28.
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