Empire Every Day 079

079: There seems to be many stories behind Sir Alec Guinness and his role as Obi-wan Kenobi. In George Lucas’s original treatment (when it was ALL one story instead of a trilogy), Obi-wan lives throughout the whole story (a fact confirmed by Lucas in the DVD commentary). However, Obi-wan ends up getting killed off in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977). There are many stories as to why Lucas changed it. There are some stories that either Guinness demanded that Obi-wan was killed off, so he wouldn’t have to appear in any sequels, or Lucas did it on his own much to the bitterness of Guinness. In the Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) DVD Commentary, Lucas says that he felt it was a waste of Guinness’ talents to have him stand beside Princess Leia in the control room during the Death Star battle (as it was scripted) and too outlandish to have the elderly Obi-wan join the dogfight. So he killed off Obi-wan in order to spur Luke on to going into Jedi training and defeat the Empire. In any event, when it came time to make this movie, in which Luke begins his training, Lucas drew from the “ugly creature with mystical powers” mythological archetype (as he did when creating Star Wars) and created Yoda as Luke’s new Jedi Master. Kenobi still makes appearances in the sequels as a Force spirit.

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