How Star Wars: The Force Awakens Snuck In Three Very Special Cameos

Back in the first year of Star Wars: The Force Awakens development, we regularly heard rumors about about the possibility of bringing back classic characters Obi-wan Kenobi and Yoda. As anyone who has seen the movie can attest, these heroes don't actually appear in the film but it turns out that you can actually hear their voices.

SPOILER WARNING: As you might have guessed, this movie contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. If you haven't had a chance to see the film yet, I would hesitate before reading any further.

In the wake of Star Wars: the Force Awakens' premiere, Entertainment Weekly had the chance to talk to director J.J. Abrams about various parts of the film - and during their conversation the filmmaker revealed that audiences can hear the voices of not only Frank Oz as Yoda, but also both Alec Guinness and Ewan McGregor as Obi-wan Kenobi. The Yoda cameo was pretty straight forward - with the veteran puppeteer going down to Bad Robot headquarters to record his role - but the story of Obi-wan's part is much more interesting.

Initially, J.J. Abrams and Co. invited Ewan McGregor to record the line, 'Rey … these are your first steps,' and the actor was happy to come in and do his part. It was while editing the sequence in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, however, that Alec Guinness (who died in August 2000) entered the picture. One day during post-production, producer Bryan Burk presented the director with an audio file of Guinness saying the name "Rey" - which was received with a bit of confusion:

I said, ‘That’s cool, is that the thing from Ewan McGregor?’ He said ‘No, we took a line from Alec Guinness saying ‘Afraid.’

It turned out that the inflection featured in this little snippet happened to be exactly what Abrams was looking for in the way that Obi-wan says Daisy Ridley's character's name during the flashback. So what is in the final film is Alec Guinness saying "Rey," and Ewan McGregor saying, "these are your first steps."

It's hard not to appreciate this inclusion. Because both Obi-wan Kenobi and Yoda are dead, there's no real way to include them in the brand new trilogy of movies. Given that a vision of them ended chapters four, five and six, this is a nice way for them to help spur the future of the new trilogy.

When you were watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens this weekend, did you catch the voices of Frank Oz, Ewan McGregor and Alec Guinness? Are you planning to listen for them during your next viewing? Do you think there's a way to include Yoda or Obi-wan Kenobi in Star Wars: Episode VIII or IX? Hit the comments below with your thoughts, feeling and speculation

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.