I guess all that fan foot-stomping may finally be paying off. The Hollywood Reporter is saying that Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Hours) is in “early talks” to direct a standalone starring Obi-wan Kenobi. It’s in “the earliest of stages” and there’s no script yet, so I don’t expect we’ll hear anything official from Lucasfilm anytime soon. (EW’s Anthony Breznican also seems positive on it – though again, “very early.”)
It’s not known if Ewan McGregor will return, but he’s been open to the idea ever since the standalones actually became a thing.
It’s been a busy one, so let’s recap! The big news this week was Entertainment Weekly’s cover story on – the movie’s first. (The issue is in stores now.) Our most extensive coverage is still in the what we’ve learned post, which has been updated to cover both galleries. Additionally, EW covered Darth Vader and Mon Mothma‘s roles in the film. Rogue One also dominated the latest tweet roundup.
Last time we heard a rumor from the folks at Schmoes Know it was regarding an end credit scene for The Force Awakens. Will Kristian Harloff’s current tweet-scoop be more lucky? An appearance from Ewan McGregor as Force ghost Obi-wan Kenobi isn’t so far-fetched as to be out of the question.
There’s still no official word on The Force Awakens Blu-ray release, but Amazon (via) has informed those who pre-ordered that the release date is April 5, just as previously reported. Hopefully this means we’ll get an announcement – and details on the bonus features – soon. UPDATE: And apparently it’s gone again. Guys, c’mon. No one is fooled by this.
→ Ewan McGregor talked about his vocal cameo in The Force Awakens on Jimmy Kimmel Live the other day.
→ Yes, Episode IX will be shot on film, director Colin Trevorrow said last week. In case you thought it would buck the trend.
No, you weren’t hearing things: Those were the voices of Ewan MacGregor, Frank Oz and Alec Guinness that we heard during Rey’s vision in The Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams confirmed to Entertainment Weekly.
Ewan McGregor came in to record his part (after cartoon counterpart James Arnold Taylor took a shot at it,) as did Frank Oz. Guinness’ “Rey” was isolated from existing audio:
As they worked on editing the dream sequence, Bryan Burk, a longtime Bad Robot collaborator and one of the producers of the film, surprised Abrams one day with the gift of a single word: Obi-Wan Kenobi’s voice saying the name “Rey …”
“I said, ‘That’s cool, is that the thing from Ewan McGregor?’” Abrams recalled. “He said ‘No, we took a line from Alec Guinness saying ‘Afraid.’”
Not only that, but the lilt in his voice from that truncated word happened to fit exactly what Abrams had in mind. “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,” Abrams says. “So when you hear Obi-Wan talk to Rey it is both Alec Guinness and Ewan McGregor doing the voice.”
Taylor and several other familiar voices can still be heard in various parts around the film – but I’ll leave the specific IDing to those more well-versed in the cartoons than I.
“I’m excited about it as much as anyone else. I saw the trailer and it looks like he absolutely nailed it and it feels right,” Ewan McGregor said on The Force Awakens at the 69th Edinburgh International Film Festival this weekend.
He’s not sure about Kylo Ren’s lightsaber crossguard, though: “If you fight with a lightsaber properly you don’t need one.”
As for Obi-Wan Kenobi:
Would McGregor return to the role, if asked? “I’ll say it publicly, here, now. I’d be happy to do the story between Episode 3, that I finished in, and Episode 4 that Alec Guinness started in. I think that would be good. Disney should definitely do that.” McGregor’s tone suggested he was half-quipping.
McGregor was at the festival for the U.K. premiere of Last Days in the Desert, where he plays a duel role as Jesus and Satan. At least one upcoming role keeps him in the Disney family – he’s playing Lumiere in the live-action Beauty and the Beast that’s slated for 2017.
Actors. It’s not that really a big surprise that J.J. Abrams wouldn’t be talking to Samuel L. Jackson or Ewan MacGregor regarding Episode VII, but Mark Hamill? So said Jackson in a recent David Letterman appearance, anyway.
Billy Dee and Rebels? Maybe not so fast on that rumor that Billy Dee Williams will be doing a voice on Rebels. Lightsaber Rattling quotes the full conversation.