IRON MAN IS EATING A HOT DOG. The Little Mermaid is charging her cell phone. And I am lost.
It’s late August and I’ve come to Anaheim, California, for D23—a three-day event where Disney executives will announce programming for the company’s new Netflix killer, Disney+Opens in a new Window., a streaming service launching in November. Some 7,000 fans (many in costume) are seated inside a convention center, waiting for their favorite stars to come out on stage and wave. It’s like Comic-Con for anyone who gets a boner for Donald Duck. Or maybe it’s the world’s most expensive pep rally.
And everyone is playing ball. Among the boldfaced names I see: Marvel president Kevin Feige; Avengers stars Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany; Thor: RagnarokOpens in a new Window. director Taika Waititi; and funnyman Billy Eichner and Anna Kendrick, his co-star in Noelle, a new comedy about what happens to Christmas when Santa Claus has a nervous breakdown. Meanwhile, everyone’s talking about Angelina Jolie and whether she’ll show up to promote Marvel’s The EternalsOpens in a new Window..
As for me, I’m supposed to meet Ewan McGregor somewhere in the bowels of this cavernous hall. If he’s hard to find, that’s by design. The dude’s been instructed to make himself scarce, lest he spoil today’s big surprise. The internet’s been rife with speculation for weeks, but he’s about to make it official: After a 15-year absence from the Star Wars universe, McGregor is set to reprise his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in a new TV series.
“It’s a fucking massive relief,” he tells me when I’m finally ushered into his trailer. “Because for four years, I’ve been having to lie to people about it.”The Best Celebrity Workouts and Training Routines of 2019 Opens in a new Window.
At 48, the boyish enthusiasm that made him a star still registers large. Behind the pale eyes and that thick mane of hair, dressed in black jeans and a black T-shirt, he still feels like the optimist from Trainspotting who—in the face of addiction—decided to “choose life.” He emotes like the lovesick poet from Moulin Rouge who sang an Elton John song to a cynical Nicole Kidman. And if he’s feeling particularly optimistic today, it makes sense: While Hollywood is in serious flux and white men of certain age are (finally!) being pushed aside for fresh and diverse perspectives, McGregor’s weathered the tide, with a slew of potential franchises coming, including the Suicide Squad spin-off, Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)Opens in a new Window., plus this month’s long-awaited sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, Doctor SleepOpens in a new Window..
I am eager to hear about it all. But first, McGregor has a question for me: “Tea?”