On Thursday night”s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, actor Ewan McGregor stopped in and talked quickly turned to Star Wars. Sadly there”s still no official word on an Obi-Wan trilogy – get on it, Disney! – but McGregor did have some interesting tidbit to share about his role in The Force Awakens. McGregor was waiting nearly two years for the call from Abrams to be part of the new film!
The important bit:
“There”s a sequence where we can use a voice – that we hear Obi-Wan Kenobi”s voice coming from the distant reaches of the forest…or wherever it does come from […] I went in and I was able to see some of it before anyone else had seen it. I was very impressed. So yeah, I recorded a line for it.
The line is ‘Rey, these are your first steps.” But they got Alec Guinness to do ‘Rey” which is extraordinary because he”s not alive anymore. They got a line of him as Obi-Wan Kenobi saying ‘afraid” then they cut [it to get] ‘Rey.”
Hold up. Did McGregor just say Obi-Wan”s voice comes from the distant reaches of the forest? The forest that didn”t make the final cut of the film – replaced with Rey”s abandonment on Jakku – but that played a pivotal role in the novelization of The Force Awakens? The original vision sequence at Maz Kanata”s featuring some of the most tantalizing pieces of information about Rey”s origins? This scene??*
A heavy, slow, mechanical breathing filled the room. Turning, she found herself looking down an impressive hallway, its architecture reminiscent of the Old Empire. Peering harder, farther, she saw in the distance a section of the famed Cloud City. Two figures were locking in combat, distant, distant. Someone, somewhere, somewhen, spoke her name…
[…] Battlefield then, all around her. Putting a hand to her mouth, she rose and turned. As she turned, she found herself confronted by seven tall, cloaked figures, dark and foreboding, all armed. Soaked and shivering, she stumbled backward, turning as she half fell. Firelight illuminated her, firelight from a distant, burning temple…
[…] Around her now: barren, snowy woods, the sounds of unknown forest creatures, and a convictions that she must be losing her mind. Once more she climbed to her feet, her chilled breath preceding her. From in front of her, not far away, came the sounds of battle: the cries of the wounded and the clashing of weapons. Then behind her, another voice. That voice. ‘Stay here, I”ll come back for you. […] I”ll come back, sweetheart. I promise.”
*Excerpt from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” by Alan Dean Foster. Published by Del Toro.
What happened late in the editing room game to change this crucial sequence? What originally would”ve read as Rey being present – and a child – during Kylo Ren”s massacre at the Jedi Temple was replaced with a far more ambiguous storyline. Was it on purpose to keep fans off-balance as to who Rey might really be? Or did an 11th hour development necessitate a less obvious origin? Either way, the forest scene was still in play when McGregor was called in to give voice to Obi-Wan once more.