The 52-year-old Scottish actor said he was set on taking a role in another project before appearing in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace in 1999.
McGregor told Variety: “[Star Wars] wasn’t a done deal for me. I didn’t think it was at all who I was. I believed, at that point, I was a Danny Boyle actor. The Beach was more important and I meant it, it wasn’t flippant. I did ask a lot of people for advice.”
In the mid-1990s, when McGregor was cast in the George Lucas science-fiction series, he was most famous for his work with British director Boyle – including Trainspotting and A Life Less Ordinary.
The Beach was a 2000 adventure film directed by Boyle, and McGregor was initially cast as its lead before he was eventually replaced by Leonardo DiCaprio.
“I am happy that I am this character for a lot of people, but when these films came out, they were so disliked. That was hard. The first one was panned and we still had to make another two! It was weird to be in a film that was hammered,” McGregor said, reflecting on his legacy as Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace made over £1bn at the box office despite receiving poor reviews.
McGregor completed the trilogy with Episode II - Attack Of The Clones in 2002 and Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith in 2005.
The Trainspotting star returned to the Star Wars universe in 2015 with a small voice cameo in The Force Awakens, which became the highest-grossing film of that year. He subsequently starred in his own Disney+ spin-off series, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Earlier this month, a new Star Wars film was announced, titled The Mandalorian And Grogu. The film, a sequel to the Disney series The Mandalorian, is being directed by Jon Favreau and will bring the popular character of Baby Yoda (aka Grogu) to the big screen.
Favreau, who created The Mandalorian TV series, will also produce the film alongside Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and Dave Filoni.
Dubbed a “perfect fit for the big screen”, details of the new film are currently being kept under wraps, but it has been confirmed that production will begin in 2024.
“I have loved telling stories set in the rich world that George Lucas created,” Favreau said.
“The prospect of bringing the Mandalorian and his apprentice Grogu to the big screen is extremely exciting.”