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Toshiro Mifune as Obi-Wan Kenobi

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    I’m surprised this hasn’t come out before, but apparently Mika Mifune is claiming that her father was offered the chance to play Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars. She claims that turned it down because he thought it cheapened the idea of Samurai. Great and all as Alec Guinness was, Mifune could have been an inspired choice (although I don’t know if he could have handled the English dialogue, as even Guinness famously struggled with Lucas’s writing).

    And incidentally, as you can see from that article, once again the Guardian shows a picture of Nakadai to illustrate an article on Mifune! Belatedly changed I see.



    And please blame autocorrect, not me for the spelling of ‘Toshiro’, above!



    These aren’t the spelling errors that you are looking for. *handwave*

    Although always very interesting, especially in the “what if” way, this is strictly speaking not really news as it surfaces up every now and then. I suppose The Guardian and others reporting it now is in one way or another connected to the marketing campaign of the upcoming Star Wars film.

    Mika Mifune in particular has talked about this a couple of times in recent years, and I think George Lucas has also confirmed that Mifune was a candidate for the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Here’s a Kotaku article from a few years ago. But it’s nonetheless still really interesting!

    Someone’s actually even done a (somewhat Russian sounding) dub of an alternative reality in which Mifune plays Obi-Wan Kenobi:



    I haven’t been active on here for a while but this topic piqued my interest. I had never heard that Mifune had been offered the role of Obi Wan Kenobi before, but my wife often mentions whenever Star Wars in on TV that there was a rumour in Japan at one time that Mifune was the first choice for Darth Vader. According to my wife’s recollection of the rumour, the reason Mifune was not ultimately cast in the role had something to do with having to wear a mask that covered his face – Vader’s face was not originally going to be covered all of the time, apparently. Thinking about it, and how much Star Wars takes from Flash Gordon, perhaps Vader was originally imagined as a Ming the Merciless type character (I know, I know, Lucas had the whole story planned out and wasn’t just making things up as he went along – sure.).



    Ah, I should have known it was already known out there! I had never heard it before (and yes, Vili, I’m sure its all connected with that already very tiresome marketing campaign). That clip is quite brilliant. Some people really do have too much time on their hands….


    Greasy Rat

    I don’t think he would have looked back on playing Jubei Kuroda in Red Sun too favorably, so I kinda see why he turned it down.

    But you’re right, it would have been an inspired choice.

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