Today’s press conference for the upcoming Disney+ series “Obi-Wan Kenobi” revealed details about the show as well as the actors’ previous “Star Wars” feature roles. Ewan McGregor, who portrayed Obi-Wan in the “Star Wars” prequel trilogy, discussed what it was like to work with the most advanced technology available at the time and some of the major issues that came with it. Twenty years ago, in 2002, “Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones” was released. Consider how early CGI would have appeared. Although the technology was incredibly cool, it was far from what it is now.
When McGregor shot the prequels, he claimed it was his first time with a digital camera, and the technology was significantly less advanced. He referred to their cameras as “dinosaurs.”
“They were cutting edge technology, but compared to what we … they had huge umbilical cords coming out the back of the cameras, and you couldn’t change the lenses. Or, they could change the lenses but it would take like, half an hour. So everything was just shot on a zoom lens.”
George Lucas, he claimed, had pioneered that technology as well as “sound and picture, and he was pioneering the cameras and the visual effects, so of course he was eager to employ it to the fullest extent possible.” Of course, the sound was made worse by the cameras.
Obi-Wan says what?
According to McGregor, the cameras were mounted on cranes, which were moved and made a lot of noise as they zoomed in and out.
“The umbilicals led to this big tent in the corner of the stage that literally hummed. It was so noisy. And when in post-production, they realized at the end that the noise they made was exactly the frequency of the human voice. So we had to ADR every single line of Episode 2. None of the original dialogue made it through because of that, because the cameras were like, so new. None of the bugs had been worked out yet. So compared to what we’re doing now, it’s like night and day.”
McGregor acknowledged that the performers would have to work harder because of the increased use of blue and green screens due to the technology. Look, I’m not a great fan of the prequels, but I do believe that some of the CG and direction mask some excellent films. Knowing precisely how much of this was groundbreaking at the time makes me slightly more grateful for them. To ADR (automated dialogue replacement, or ADR) the dialogue for the entire movie? That’s absurd, and I now appreciate actors even more for having to convey emotion when it wasn’t captured during actual shooting.
“Obi-Wan Kenobi” stars McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Moses Ingram, Bonnie Piesse, Indira Varma, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Simone Kessell, Joel Edgerton, Kumail Nanjiani, Rupert Friend, Sung Kang, and Benny Safdie. On May 27, 2022, Disney+ will debut it.