This Actor Turned Down The Roles of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader in STAR WARS
George Lucas has been very open about the influence of Japanese cinema on the original Star Wars, especially the work of director Akira Kurosawa. But if he had his way, that influence would have extended to one of Kurosawa's biggest stars actually starring in his sci-fi epic.
THR reports that Toshiro Mifune, the actor who starred in Kurosawa classics like Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, and Rashoman, turned down the roles of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader in the original movie. Mifune's daughter spoke at a press event in Tokyo today and revealed the information to a crowd:
"I heard from my father that he was offered the role of Obi Wan Kenobi, but he was concerned about how the film would look and that it would cheapen the image of samurai, on which George Lucas had based a lot of the character and fighting style," said Mifune. "At the time, sci-fi movies still looked quite cheap as the effects were not advanced and he had a lot of samurai pride. So then, there was talk about him taking the Darth Vader role as his face would be covered, but in the end he turned that down too."
Both of those performances (well, technically three performances: Alec Guinness, David Prowse, and James Earl Jones) are so iconic, it's hard to imagine anyone else playing those characters, but I think Mifune might have been a better Obi-Wan than Darth Vader. What do you think?