Both Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen hated the Star Wars dialogue "I have the high ground."
For better or for worse, the Star Wars prequels have generated countless memes, with most of them centered around silly dialogue such as Obi-Wan Kenobi telling his murderous pupil Anakin Skywalker “I have the high ground” before defeating him in grisly lightsaber combat. As it turns out, though, neither Ewan McGregor (who played Obi-Wan) nor Hayden Christensen (who played Anakin) was happy about this resolution to their climactic Star Wars battle. And in a recent interview with Star Wars Theory, the film’s stunt coordinator Nick Gillard said that the two stars petitioned George Lucas to change the scene: they “went to George and said, ‘George, this!’ and he was having none of it.”
While this story is very belated considering that Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith came out back in 2005, it’s pretty funny to get confirmation that Ewan McGregor and others had some of the same objections about the Star Wars film being silly that many audiences did. The dialogue alone is often cringe-inducing, and it’s a bit of an open secret that McGregor covered his mouth when telling Natalie Portman how Anakin had killed the younglings because he was trying to cover his smirk concerning the awful dialogue. However, that scene can hardly hold a lightsaber to the famous scene where he screams at Anakin that he has the high ground to warn the young Sith Lord that he is doomed.
Aside from learning how much Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen hated this scene, the most interesting part of the interview with Nick Gillard is when he reveals how this Star Wars scene almost had a very different ending. He and his crew were pushing for an alternate ending where Anakin still gets his limbs chopped off, but this was more of a “defense-gone-wrong kind of move” on Obi-Wan’s part rather than deliberate dismemberment. This would definitely add an extra layer of tragedy to that final duel, but we ultimately prefer the idea that Obi-Wan is willing to dismember his own former Padawan and leave him to die if that’s the price of potentially ridding the galaxy of his evil.
Another eye-opening part of the interview was when Nick Gillard mentioned how Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen were not the only ones who objected to this silly Star Wars dialogue. According to the stunt coordinator, he and the rest of the crew “hated the high ground thing.” However, now that so much time has passed since the movie came out, he’s willing to admit that “it has its place now.”
What he’s referring to is the fact that, in a prequel series filled with insane dialogue, “the high ground thing” may be one the most quoted bits of franchise dialogue. Its popularity in countless Star Wars memes is further proof of the idea that George Lucas was making the prequels specifically for a younger audience, and sure enough, younger fans have embraced the prequels in a way that cranky, older fans of the Original Trilogy never did. So even though Ewan McGregor may have groaned at the dialogue even more than the biggest haters of the Star Wars prequels, it may be worth finally admitting that Lucas knew what he was doing when it came to recruiting a new generation of Padawan learners who could appreciate his galaxy far, far away, right down to the cringe-worthy lines.