The Star Wars Prequels remain a subject of varied opinions among fans, with CGI Yoda often drawing polarized reactions. Ewan McGregor, known for portraying the iconic Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Prequel Trilogy, recently shared his thoughts on the matter while discussing his role with Pedro Pascal in Variety’s Actors on Actors series. McGregor candidly expressed his dissatisfaction with the transition from a puppet to a computer-generated Yoda in Episodes Two and Three, emphasizing his preference for the puppetry used in Episode One.
Reflecting on the shift, McGregor mentioned, “They replaced [Yoda] for our second film and our third film with the digital version of him, and it’s not nearly as endearing.” He highlighted the audience’s familiarity with Yoda as a puppet from the original movies, stating that the sudden shift to a computer-generated portrayal felt disconnected from the character’s essence established in the earlier films. He also noted the challenge of maintaining a puppet version during action scenes involving Yoda’s agile movements, acknowledging the practical constraints faced by George Lucas in depicting Yoda’s combat sequences.
Recalling his experiences during The Phantom Menace, McGregor praised the remarkable work of the puppeteers who brought the wise Jedi master to life, describing the puppet’s portrayal as “extraordinary.” However, he revealed a sense of disquietude when the character would “die” after George Lucas called a cut, signaling the cessation of puppeteering.
Shifting gears, McGregor discussed his involvement in the upcoming Disney Plus series centered around Obi-Wan Kenobi. He expressed delight in working on sets without extensive green screens, particularly in comparison to his Prequel Trilogy experience, where a significant portion of filming took place against green screens. The new Obi-Wan Kenobi show implements StageCraft technology, reminiscent of The Mandalorian, utilizing LED screens to project immersive, photorealistic environments around the actors.
McGregor expressed enthusiasm for this groundbreaking technology, likening it to the early days of filmmaking and emphasizing the endless creative possibilities it offers. He highlighted the ability to craft environments, both interior and exterior, that transcend reality and immerse the actors in a seamless digital world, fostering a sense of excitement about the limitless potential of this innovative approach.