Episode 7 is getting deeper. Not only has J.J. Abrams brought prestige back to the franchise, he’s embellished Episode 7 with cameos from Star Wars legends. Besides the known actors with major roles coming back from Episodes 4, 5, and 6, there are more cameos from old favorites.
If you haven’t seen the film yet, these cameos won’t be so obvious anyway. But for the keen observer, you may want to stop reading now and see Episode 7 first. The rest of this article contains spoilers.
There is a scene right after Rey, Finn, and Han Solo meet Maz Kanata. Rey finds herself wandering down into the basement at Maz Kanata’s place, and stumbles upon an object very familiar to Star Wars fans. When she takes hold of it, a variety of premonitions, flashbacks, and all sorts of visions bombard her. Major mysteries, hints, and clues flood in at the pace of a rapid heartbeat. This one scene provides the needed fuel for exploring Rey’s orgin in the next Star Wars films past Episode 7, which will necessarily have to define what happens here.
Besides this scene being important to Rey, why does Maz Kanata even have the Star Wars centerpiece object? She’s basically Yoda for a new generation. She’s small in size, wise, and somewhat boisterous, but she hangs out in a much more more social atmosphere. She’s also powerful, though it’s not clear the extent of her power. She displays some of it when she reads Finn’s mind by adjusting her peculiar eyeglasses.
— Nabu Scholar (@NabuScholar) December 18, 2015
J.J. Abrams recently explained that along with the collection of images in this Episode 7 sequence, there is voice-over from Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Not just the Obi-Wan from the Star Wars prequels, but a piece of audio was extracted from original trilogy Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan Kenobi, as Luke Skywalker met him in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, was played by Alec Guinness. Guinness died in 2000, when he was 86-years-old. A sound clip of his performance in the original films was manipulated to fit the current storyline. The younger Obi-Wan, played by Ewan McGregor, the one who fought Anakin Skywalker in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, also lends his voice-over talents for the scene. J.J. Abrams describes the process in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
“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.’ 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.”
Frank Oz came in to voice Yoda, as he has done in all the films Yoda has appeared in. But J.J. Abrams ended up using audio from older footage. Frank Oz is 71-years-old and still voicing Yoda for other Star Wars properties outside the films. Hopefully, Yoda will return in some form or other for the following films. As MTV reports, besides the Star Wars greats, other well-known actors came in to support Episode 7 with cameos. James Bond actor Daniel Craig, whose latest movie, Spectre, is still in some theaters, makes an appearance as an unlucky stormtrooper.
And in a move that can be looked at as sacrilegious, Simon Pegg, Scotty of the new Star Trek films, crosses over into Star Wars territory and appears as the junk dealership’s alien owner. In the film, he constantly shortchanges Rey when she stops by to trade junk for currency.
Editorial: Let’s Talk About Rey [Warning: Spoilers Ahead] https://t.co/unjJFnts6d pic.twitter.com/lv4yqHiu0S
— Heroic Hollywood (@heroichollywood) December 21, 2015
As hard as many of the Episode 7 cameos are to spot, including one by Carrie Fisher’s daughter, the movie merits repeat watching just to spot all the hidden actors. Episode 7 is breaking box office records, and part of this is due to the talented cast of extras and featured players.
[Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]