It's well known amongst the #Marvel Cinematic Universe fandom that Marvel Studios basically stalked Benedict Cumberbatch for a long period of time, hoping to entice him out of his difficult schedule to join their ranks as the Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Stephen Strange.
Beating out the likes of Joaquin Phoenix and Jared Leto for the role, Cumberbatch made his #MCU debut last year in Doctor Strange, and is set to return for a cameo in this year's Thor: Ragnarok and as part of the roster for Avengers: Infinity War next year (albeit played largely by a body double). But while he's a solid choice for the role, Cumberbatch wasn't the only one with his hat in the ring for the part.
Scottish actor #EwanMcGregor made his name in Hollywood as the young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel series, and had his name solidified in cult cinema history as Renton in Trainspotting. But McGregor was also eyed for the role of #DoctorStrange when Marvel threw out their casting net, though obviously he was ultimately passed on in the end.
But why? The plot thickens. Back in 2015 McGregor told MTV that he was initially very interested in taking on the role of Doctor Stephen Strange:
"Yeah, I was into it, yeah. I thought it was exciting. I was intrigued by it, and I like the idea of creating a superhero character. Why wouldn't you? Very nice. But it was fun to be in the mix for a little while."
It makes sense, the MCU is the hottest property in Hollywood right now, attracting A-list stars across the board. But the way McGregor discusses it makes it sound like he was passed on for the role rather than being the one to pull out.
Now, take the next news with a pinch of salt as it comes from an unconfirmed source, but it may be that the reason McGregor didn't end up playing Doctor Strange was because Marvel Studios' parent company #Disney had bigger plans for him.
As we all well know by now, Disney also currently owns Lucasfilm, the company responsible for the Star Wars movies and their recent resurrection as a major franchise again. According to a FANDOM source, the reason McGregor was passed on for Doctor Strange was because Disney vetoed his casting. And why did Disney veto his casting? Because they have every intention of bringing him back as Obi-Wan Kenobi for Star Wars.
As FANDOM reports:
"Marvel wanted Ewan [McGregor] for the role. But they were told they couldn’t cast him because Disney needed him for Star Wars."
Big news? Perhaps. Rumors of McGregor and Obi-Wan's return have been rife ever since the prequel Star Wars Stories movies were announced, and many fans have been excited at the prospect of a possible Obi-Wan Kenobi solo movie in the vein of the upcoming Han Solo project.
Last we heard from McGregor himself on the matter was in an interview with Entertainment Weekly last month, when he said:
"There’s no official offer, and I haven’t met them about it or anything. I’ve always said that I’d be happy to do it if they wanted to do it. It would be a good segue between the last episode of the prequels and the new episodes."
It's not the craziest idea to speculate that Disney may have vetoed McGregor's MCU chances in order to keep his celebrity image as Obi-Wan intact rather than paint him with the Marvel brush.
Of course, this news should not come without scrutiny. Last year Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen played two different characters across the MCU and Star Wars franchises — Kaecilius in Doctor Strange and Galen Erso in Rogue One — in movies that released a mere month apart. Although, it is worth noting that these two were both secondary characters who seem unlikely to return to the respective universes anytime soon.
Either it's brand recognition, or a scheduling and shooting issue. Doctor Strange is expected to return for a solo sequel after Infinity War and Thor: Ragnarok, and likely will be a player in the Infinity War follow-up, which would've jammed up McGregor's schedule plenty over the next few years. A schedule that Disney may be eying for his return as Obi-Wan.
For now though we'll have to take this rumor with a large pinch of salt — but we wouldn't be too surprised to see a big announcement coming our way from Disney regarding a certain Jedi Master sometime soon. We think you should keep a weather eye out on the upcoming D23 Expo in July anyway, just in case.
Do you want to see Ewan McGregor returning as Obi-Wan? Have your say in the comments below!