**SPOILERS AHEAD FOR STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS**
The Force Awakens may have a trio of ‘legacy’ players at its centre in the form of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, but did you know JJ Abrams employed the talents of three additional Star Wars veterans for Episode VII?
The director has revealed to Entertainment Weekly that he recruited Ewan McGregor and Frank Oz to reprise their iconic Star Wars characters for voice cameos in the new film, which debuted last week and has broken box office records over the weekend.
SPOILER ALERT: The scene in question takes place when Daisy Ridley’s scavenger Rey has a dream-like flashback after discovering Luke Skywalker’s long-lost lightsaber in the basement of Maz Kanata’s castle. The character then hears a series of familiar voices – vocals that Abrams has since revealed belong to McGregor, Oz and the late Alec Guinness.
“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,” explained Abrams.
He went on to reveal that the team behind the new film asked McGregor – who played Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequels – to come in and record new dialogue. “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.”
Oz – who voiced Yoda in the earlier movies – also contributed his vocals, but Abrams confirmed the team ended up going with pre-existing dialogue spoken by the Jedi master. “He was incredibly generous and came in to Bad Robot [Abrams’ production company], where we had a recording area, and he was doing Yoda, saying a number of lines we gave to him.”
But perhaps coolest of all is the addition of Guinness’s voice speaking the name “Rey”. The actor, who portrayed the older version of Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original trilogy, passed away in 2000 aged 86 but Episode VII producer Bryan Burk surprised his director with the single word of dialogue from the English actor.
Abrams recalled: “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.”
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is out in cinemas now
Sign up to the Radio Times newsletter for the latest TV and entertainment news