SPOILERS: J.J. Abrams Reveals Two Classic Characters That Are in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

By December 20, 2015
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One of the biggest questions that fans had going into Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens earlier this week, was what iconic or classic characters might be featured in the film, and what nods to the previous films could we expect? Aside from the obvious appearances from characters like Han Solo, Leia Organa, and Luke Skywalker though, it looks like director J.J. Abrams and co. were even more subtle with their references and character nods than we may have noticed too.

In fact, the director and co-writer Lawrence Kasdan revealed one specific sequence in the film that features the return of not one, but two iconic characters from the franchise.

Before I reveal the specific scene and characters though, I’m going to go ahead and issue one final SPOILER WARNING for those of you who haven’t seen the film yet. From this point forth, I’m going to assume that anyone who has kept reading has seen the film, and therefore, does not consider this piece of information a spoiler. Cool? Cool.

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Yes, as the image above suggests, the film does include the return of both Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi to the Star Wars franchise. However, their return comes in a way that you might not expect…

During the sequence when Rey (Daisy Ridley) stumbles upon Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber at Maz Kanata’s bar, as those who have seen it are aware, she experiences a vision of both past events, and possible future events as well, including Luke possibly putting R2 to sleep, the Knights of Ren slaughtering unknown characters in the rain, herself being left on Jakku by her family as a little girl, and a premonition of her encounter with Ren in the forests of Starkiller Base later in the film. It turns out that the sequence also includes the voices of both Obi-Wan and Yoda as well, which some keen viewers have been able to pick up on.

So what exactly do we hear the characters saying though? Abrams revealed the following (via EW) about the sequence:

“The idea of the voices was, we wanted the audience to feel – but not necessarily be presented right in your face — this idea that familiar, Force-strong voices were connecting with her. At least as well as they could. You do hear a little bit of Yoda. You hear Luke yelling out, ‘Nooo!’ from that moment in Empire. And you hear Obi-Wan at the end say, ‘Rey … these are your first steps.”

Things get even cooler from here though, as Abrams also revealed that Obi-Wan’s voice comes courtesy of the two live-action versions of the character, including Alec Guinness and Ewan McGregor:

“Here’s the cool part. We asked Ewan McGregor to come in and do the line. And he was awesome and we were very grateful. He was incredibly sweet and handsome, and all that stuff. Then he rode off on his motorcycle. Literally the coolest voice over actor ever.”

So yes, McGregor did in fact reprise his role as the iconic Jedi Master for this very small moment, but as someone who fell in love with McGregor’s interpretation of Obi-Wan (despite my overall feelings towards the prequels), I just hope this is a sign of even more to come (Obi-Wan spin-off trilogy maybe? Just saying, in case anyone over at Lucasfilm is listening.)

How exactly did they manage to replicate and mold the voice of the late great Guinness in the new film though? Apparently, they managed to recreate Guinness’ voice to say “Rey” by taking a portion of a clip of him saying “Afraid”. Abrams recalled having the initial conversation with producer Bryan Burk about the line:

“I said, ‘That’s cool, is that the thing from Ewan McGregor? He said ‘No, we took a line from Alec Guinness saying ‘Afraid.’ They cut it, and you hear the performance – he’s saying it the way I would have begged Alec Guinness to have said it. It is so crazy perfect. So when you hear Obi-Wan talk to Rey it is both Alec Guinness and Ewan McGregor doing the voice.”

They did manage to bring Yoda actor Frank Oz in to record new lines for the sequence as well, although the director revealed that they instead opted to use pre-existing audio clips from the Jedi master. The sequence in question too, is one of my personal favorite moments in the film, and Kasdan spoke on what it does and doesn’t reveal about Rey’s backstory, saying that he and Abrams were hoping to suggest pieces of information about her origins, without fully going into it, since they felt The Force Awakens wasn’t quite the film to tell that story:

 “We’re hoping Rian Johnson can figure that out. We were really stymied!”

I’ve seen a lot of people complaining and arguing that the film is lacking serious amounts of backstory too, which I couldn’t disagree more with, and Abrams touched on the subject with the following, relating the film back to the amount of character information that was revealed in the 1977 original film as well:

“Everyone who has seen these movies thinks about ‘I am your father …’ and ‘There is another …’. But neither of those things were in [1977’s original] Star Wars. Star Wars didn’t say Luke was the son of Vader. Star Wars didn’t say Leia was the sister of Luke. You didn’t understand what these references were: the Empire, dark times, Clone Wars. There were these things that were discussed that don’t get explained. George [Lucas] dropped you into a story and respected you to infer everything necessary to understand what you need to know.”Can this movie actually also hold, ‘And Rey is this … And Finn is that … And this is where Poe is from …’ This is the first of a series. There is a story to be told. And it will be.”

Personally, I think that the film gave us the perfect amount of information regarding our new characters, so that we can move forward without having to stop along the way too much. It seems like Episode VIII‘s story will focus much more on the force and the training of Rey that was hinted at in the end with Luke. Does that mean we could possibly see Yoda and Obi-Wan return in a much more visual manner too? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is in theatres now.

Make sure to keep checking back for more updates — right here on GeekNation.

Alex Welch

Alex Welch

Alex dreams of meeting a girl with a yellow umbrella, and spends too much time* staring at a movie screen. His vocabulary consists mostly of movie quotes and 80s song lyrics. *Debatable
  • Chris Skalicky

    I rewatched it today and I actually heard Ewan’s voice. Unfortunately I can’t remember the line but I did hear it.

  • phnxgrl

    So there are Force ghosts in The Force Awakens huh?