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Ewan McGregor says bad reviews made filming Star Wars prequels tough

Ewan McGregor says that negative reviews for The Phantom Menace made finishing the rest of the Star Wars prequels a bit disconcerting

Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

I have a lot of nostalgia for the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy. They and The Lord of the Rings were the cinematic events of my childhood, spawning more merchandise and Star Wars games than I could consume. Ewan McGregor, one of the stars of the science fiction movies, says making them was a bit of a task.

It wasn’t the shooting process, exactly, though that had its foibles. It was the negative critical reception for The Phantom Menace that made the remaining action movies tough. “It was hard because it was such a huge decision to do them, such a big event,” McGregor told Vanity Fair. “It was quite difficult for all of us to deal with that, also knowing you’ve got a couple more to do.”

The Phantom Menace was not well-received. Fans and critics alike had a general distaste for it, mostly based on it not being the Star Wars movie anyone was expecting. Many reviews gave it a kicking, and discussing its many failures became a sticking point on discussion boards.

Cast-members have noted this before. Ahmed Best, who played Jar-Jar-Binks in the family movie, suffered severe mental ill-health as a direct result of the backlash, and only became candid about it all in recent years.

Nostalgia is a powerful balm, and there’s been a re-evaluation of the trilogy’s strengths since The Force Awakens in 2015, McGregor credits this with kids, like I was, growing up with a particular connection. “I really do think it has to do with growing up,” he says, when asked about changing attitudes.

McGregor is starring in Obi-Wan Kenobi, a Disney Plus sci-fi series set soon after Revenge of the Sith. The first episodes arrive May 27.