Ewan McGregor and Pedro Pascal Talk Stormtroopers, Jawas, Filming, and Their Experiences Being in ‘Star Wars’
The new season of Variety’s Actors on Actors is being released this week, and one of the episodes features the two leads of two different Star Wars series talking to each other. Indeed, Pedro Pascal, representing The Mandalorian, and Ewan McGregor, representing his latest series Halston, had a 30-minute recorded conversation where they talked about their careers, and especially their Star Wars projects.
As a Star Wars veteran himself, McGregor (who is also filming his Obi-Wan Kenobi right now), had a lot of questions and comments about The Mandalorian, especially concerning Grogu and the secrets inside Star Wars. In fact, one of the few common grounds the two of them found is the fact that it is so hard to keep a Star Wars secret from reporters and interviewers, as they become more and more sneaky every time. Even McGregor himself revealed that he’s already shot a scene with Stormtroopers in it, even though he thought that wasn’t a spoiler at all since Obi-Wan Kenobi takes place 10 years after Revenge of the Sith, as the public already knows. He said:
“I’ve got to be so careful. There’s no secret to when this series is being set, but I had to walk past two Stormtroopers. I realized I’ve never acted with a Stormtrooper because mine were clones, you know? It was the clone army. So I’d never seen a Stormtrooper. So I was walking past them in this scene. I turned around — and I was 6 years old again. […]
I was feeling like I was 6 again or something, because I’m so close to one and I got a fright, you know? So crazy. Then I asked someone, “Were there Stormtroopers in my films? Because I don’t think I’ve seen a Stormtrooper for real before.” They were like “No, they weren’t Stormtroopers; they were clones.” And Jawas, I had another scene with a little Jawa.”
To him, saying that there are stormtroopers and Jawas in the show was probably the most innocent and harmless thing he could have said, but it was probably enough to launch hundreds of online articles like this one. Nonetheless, the two have kept huge Star Wars secrets in the past — Ewan McGregor knew that he was coming back years before it was publicly announced, while Pascal had to keep the Grogu secret from literally everyone. He said:
“That may literally be the very first secret that I’ve ever kept. Don’t share anything personal with me! But there’s so much seriousness around leaked information, and I find it all just a bit too much. I tell my family everything, and I didn’t with Grogu. I didn’t even know what his name was going to be until the second season, but I could just tell that it was going to have such an impact. When I saw the image of this thing, and started reading the scripts and everything, I didn’t want to compromise that in any way. It was easy to not talk about it because it was like, ‘Nah, I want this to work.'”
Another common ground for the two actors on their experience on Star Wars was shooting with a character from the Yoda species. Whether it’s Yoda himself for McGregor or Baby Yoda, a.k.a. Grogu for Pascal, the two agreed that the puppet is by far the superior form. McGregor asked Pedro Pascal if it was a puppet that had been on set, to which the latter responded:
“Yeah, there’s this incredible puppet with fuzzy hair on the ears, and it moves remotely. I don’t give away too many secrets about how it works, but there are these incredible puppets, and one can be done remotely that is more conducive to wider shots. And then there’s one that’s very, very plugged in, and its eyeballs are moving around, its eyebrows are moving — it’s all of the sort of like muscular details of its face and ears and everything. And these guys are so talented, and they get the puppet to sort of act with you in the scene.”
In fact, he then went on to describe what is probably the first deleted scene we know of from The Mandalorian:
“They didn’t keep it, but there was a moment where the puppet was warming itself near the fire, or curious about some kind of fire coming out of a jet. And I said, “Don’t get too close.” And then whoever’s doing the remote literally had the puppet look at me and back off and be like, “Oh, OK.” And it was kind of unbelievable. It was a really good scene partner.”
While he didn’t mention which episode this was from, it seems like a perfect scene from Chapter 7: The Reckoning.
Ewan McGregor also has a bit of experience with shooting with a Yoda puppet. He said:
“The first film I did, I was lucky to do my scenes with the Yoda puppet. And it was extraordinary, because I acted with him. I couldn’t believe I was acting with Yoda. There’s so many people operating him, and the stage is lifted up so they’re underneath the floor and we were literally walking next to each other — and he’s alive. Then every time George called cut, Yoda would die, because everyone just stops. It was sort of disturbing every time the end of the scene would come along.”
However, he’s also shot a lot with a CG version of the character, which was included in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith (due to the fact that Yoda had to do a lot more than sitting down in those movies):
“Then they replaced him for our second film and our third film with the digital version of him, and it’s not nearly as endearing. Also, we know Yoda as a puppet. We know him from the original movies as a puppet. So when it was suddenly computer generated, it didn’t feel like Yoda to me anymore. It was interesting that it went back to an actual puppet with your series.”
Pedro Pascal took this opportunity to put the tears back in our eyes when he relived shooting the final scene of season 2, where he had to say goodbye to Grogu:
“It worked on so many levels, and the way that we had to end the second season with this sort of tearful goodbye. To not have had the puppet for that, and also the knowledge of its reception from the world and how everyone felt about its creation, its relationship to the history of “Star Wars” — it was one of the more strange acting experiences that I’ve ever had.”
While there wasn’t a lot mentioned about the Kenobi series besides the inclusion of stormtroopers and Jawas, Ewan McGregor couldn’t help but share his enthusiasm about working with Deborah Chow. This is definitely worth mentioning because even though the actor has already shown his excitement about the director in the past, he hasn’t done it a lot since they started filming. It is comforting to see that he’s still trusting her with the whole vision of the show:
“I just came directly from our set on the “Kenobi” series, and I’m working with so many of your crew from “The Mandalorian.” In fact, Deborah Chow is directing all of our series, and I know she directed episodes of your first season. I’m having such an amazing time down there with that incredible technology, and not being in front of too much green screen and blue screen.”
There isn’t really anything ground-breaking in this conversation, but it will certainly put a smile on your face, especially as you see Pedro Pascal’s genuine excitement in meeting one of his acting heroes. And, as he revealed, he didn’t know him at first from the Star Wars prequels, but rather the Danny Boyle movie Trainspotting. Here you can check out the conversation in video form:
Miguel Fernández is a Spanish student that has movies as his second passion in life. His favorite movie of all time is The Lord of the Rings, but he is also a huge Star Wars fan. However, fantasy movies are not his only cup of tea, as movies from Scorsese, Fincher, Kubrick or Hitchcock have been an obsession for him since he started to understand the language of filmmaking. He is that guy who will watch a black and white movie, just because it is in black and white.