The Force ghosts in the original trilogy of “Star Wars” films were an important device both in terms of story and emotional content. Following Obi-Wan Kenobi’s sacrifice in “Star Wars: A New Hope” (1977), the sequel “Empire Strikes Back” (1980) brought back Alec Guinness as Obi Wan’s Force ghost. In the prequel trilogy, a young Obi-Wan was portrayed by Ewan McGregor, who according to some rumours, may return as a Force ghost in Star Wars Episode VIII.
It is known now that Disney pushed back the release date of “Star Wars” Episode VIII from May 26, 2017, to December 15, 2017, as the December release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was so successful. Also, the popularity of the new lead characters Rey, Finn and Poe required re-writes to expand their roles further. The additional time means that Obi-Wan’s Force ghost could indeed make an appearance in Rian Johnson’s “Star Wars” sequel.
The rumour, reports Screen Rant, comes courtesy of Kristian Harloff of Schmoes Know and Collider Jedi Council. He advises that fans keep their grains of salt handy, but he’s hearing that McGregor is having discussions with Lucasfilm to portray Obi-Wan once more.
“Grain of salt: hearing that Ewan Mcgregor in talks to play Obi Force ghost in Episode 8,” Harloff posted on Twitter.
In an earlier interview with Entertainment Weekly, J.J Abrams had revealed that cameos of Yoda, as well as both young and old versions of Obi-Wan Kenobi, are hidden in “The Force Awakens.” This happens in the scene where Rey is experiencing a vision after touching Luke’s lightsaber in the basement of Maz Kanata’s castle.
Ewan McGregor and Frank Oz returned to voice younger Obi-Wan and Yoda respectively. But Alec Guinness’s single-word dialogue “Rey” was done using original audio recording of the actor, who died in 2000 at the age of 86.
“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,” Abrams told EW.
While there are no official confirmations, the Force ghost of Obi-Wan can return in Episode VIII or even later in Episode IX, if the script has the character. Hopefully it will play a significant part in guiding a character and not be just a fan service. In fact, a scene featuring the iconic Yoda was written and Frank Oz had performed as the character for a day. The scene, which would have also featured Luke Skywalker, was cut from the film.
So, McGregor can definitely return as Obi-Wan for later “Star Wars” movies as a ghost. Time will tell whether the rumours become true.