SPOILER WARNING- This is a spoiler heavy story about The Force Awakens. If you haven’t seen it yet, what the hell is wrong with you? Seriously, what possible excuse can you have to not have seen this movie yet?
An article in Entertainment Weekly reveals that J.J. Abrams confirmed the voices of Yoda and Obi-Wan can be heard in The Force Awakens, and it’s not all just archived audio. Frank Oz and Ewan McGregor came in to record new dialogue for their respective characters. If you missed it, they can be heard during the visions Rey has as she touches Luke’s lightsaber. Abrams talks about why he chose to bring back the iconic characters:
“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.”
The director talks about the experience of recording with Oz (although they ultimately used pre-existing material in the film):
“He was incredibly generous and came in to Bad Robot, where we had a recording area, and he was doing Yoda, saying a number of lines we gave to him. This whole experience has been one outrageous moment after another. Just watching Frank Oz, you look at him and talk to him and his voice is very deep. I don’t know why I would have thought he sounded like Miss Piggy! He was very generous to say, ‘Whatever makes the movie better, I’m happy to help out.”
Abrams also discusses working with McGregor:
“…you hear Obi-Wan at the end say, ‘Rey … these are your first steps.” 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.”
Having Oz and McGregor as part of The Force Awakens is pretty great, but producer Bryan Burk surprised Abrams with another actor cameo. Abrams recalls when Burk played him a clip of Obi-Wan just saying the name “Rey.”
“I said, ‘That’s cool, is that the thing from Ewan McGregor? He said ‘No, we took a line from Alec Guinness saying ‘Afraid.’”
So the final reading of the line in the film is a combination of Alec Guinness and Ewan McGregor, which is pretty remarkable. There were a few other notable cameos in the film, including Simon Pegg as Unkar Plutt, the Jaaku-based alien scavenger boss, and Daniel Craig as the Stormtrooper that Rey Jedi mind tricks into releasing her.