Ewan McGregor's uncle, actor Denis Lawson, portrayed Wedge Antilles in the original Star Wars trilogy
In a PEOPLE exclusive clip of this weekend’s Sunday TODAY with Willie Geist, McGregor told host Willie Geist he had always admired his uncle, Denis Lawson, 72, calling the older actor his “hero.” Lawson played Wedge Antilles in Lucas’ original Star Wars trilogy.
“When my parents took me to see Star Wars for the first time in a cinema, to see my uncle on the screen but also it was Star Wars, it blew my mind,” McGregor, 48, said.
The Birds of Prey star continued, “He was always really dismissive of it because he did a couple of weeks work, sitting in a cardboard spaceship… and yet he had this massive following. It sort of annoyed him.”
When it came time for McGregor to be approached for the part of Obi-Wan Kenobi for the prequels — who was originally played by Sir Alec Guinness — McGregor said Lawson warned him against it.
“He was one of the people who said, ‘Don’t do it, don’t do it, don’t do it,” McGregor recalled. “And then the nearer I got to it, the more I wanted to do it.”
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McGregor portrayed a young version of Obi-Wan, as a mentor to Anakin Skywalker before his fall and transformation as Darth Vader.
The star said he has no regrets. “I’m so glad I did because it was so interesting to be part of that,” McGregor said.
McGregor will get to reprise his role as the Jedi Knight in an upcoming Disney+ series. (Fans also got to see Lawson return to the role of Wedge in last year’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.)
Last month, the actor told The Associated Press the series has “been pushed back a little bit” after rumors it had been put on hold.
“The scripts are excellent and they just want them to be better,” he told the outlet. “So we just pushed it back, but it’s not — it’s very dramatic, it would seem, online, there’s all kinds of s— online about it, but it’s only just slid back a bit.”
He continued, “We’re still shooting it, I think it will still be aired when it was meant to be and I’m really excited about it. It’ll be fun to play again.”
Catch the full interview this Sunday on Sunday Today with Willie Geist, airing at 8 a.m. ET on NBC. The full unedited version of the interview is also available on the Sunday Sitdown podcast.