• The Obi-Wan Kenobi series arrives on Disney+ this Wednesday.

  • Obi-Wan Kenobi is however absent from the first drafts of scenarios for

    Star Wars, episode IV: A new hope,

    released 45 years ago.

  • Back on the route of the Jedi knight character, played by Alec Guiness and Ewan McGregor.

“Hello there.

(“Hello you”) Who would have guessed that Obi-Wan Kenobi would go down in cinema history with this simple line that has become iconic, used during his first appearance in

Star Wars, episode IV: A new hope

 then in

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

?

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While Disney + unveils this Wednesday the first episodes of the series dedicated to the great mentor figure of

Star Wars

, located chronologically between episodes III and IV, return to the itinerary of the character of Jedi knight, who marked several generations since the release of the first feature film of the intergalactic saga on May 25, 1977, 45 years ago to the day.

One of the most important characters in the "Star Wars" saga

Obi-Wan Kenobi, wise and skilled Jedi Knight, is considered the best negotiator in the galaxy.

He was the padawan of Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and the master of Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), before retiring to Tatooine where he watches over the young Luke Skywalker.

It is these adventures ten years after

Star Wars, episode III: Revenge of the Sith

and nine years before

Star Wars, episode IV: A new hope,

that the series expected on May 27 on Disney +, will narrate.

Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of the most important characters in the

Star Wars

saga .

Until

Rogue One

in 2016, he is one of the only characters to make an appearance in every film of the saga, whether in real presence, as a ghostly entity or in a voice cameo.

Anakin and Luke Skywalker's mentor is also one of the heroes of the animated series

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

, launched in 2008,

Star Wars Rebels

, launched in 2014 and

Star Wars: The Bad Batch

, launched in 2021 on Disney+ .

The Jedi Knight appears in many comics like

Star Wars: Obi-Wan & Anakin

, written by Charles Soule,

Star Wars: Darth Maul

, written by Cullen Bunn or

Star Wars: Kanan

, written by Greg Weisman.

But especially

Star Wars: Excerpt from the Diary of Old Ben Kenobi, an arc of the

Star Wars

comic book series

written by Jason Aaron.

He finally appears in novels like Christie Golden's

Dark Apprentice

and video games, such as

Star Wars: Galactic Defense

.

Ben Kenobi, the first version of the character

Obi-Wan Kenobi is however absent from the first drafts of scenarios for

Star Wars, episode IV: A new hope

.

The character makes an appearance in the third iteration of the script titled

The Star Wars – From the Adventures of Luke Starkiller

, completed in August 1975.

In this version, Luke visits old Ben Kenobi (for Obi-Wan Kenobi, we still have to wait), a Jedi like his late father was, in the hopes that he will join him in helping the beautiful princess. Leia.

The Jedi Knights still call on the power of the Kyber Crystal, a stone that increases tenfold the strength stolen by Darth Vader, which Ben Kenobi will try to take back from his former disciple who has gone over to the dark side.

This one does not die under Darth Vader's lightsaber, but flees the space station with the others.

The decision to kill the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi will only be taken on the set of

Star Wars: A New Hope

, whose script, completed on January 15, 1976, is constantly being refined by George Lucas.

"Obi-Wan Kenobi", a character inspired by Akira Kurosawa

George Lucas was inspired by General Makabe Rokurōta, a character from Akira Kurosawa's

The Hidden Fortress

, played by Toshiro Mifune, hence the Japanese-sounding character's name and his samurai-inspired clothing.

The franchise creator hasn't always known exactly what to do with the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

During the filming of

Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope

, it becomes clear to him that the fate he has reserved for the Jedi is not satisfactory.

Once the tractor beam is cut, its role is almost done.

Obi-Wan Kenobi's death gave birth to the character of Yoda

His wife, Marcia Lucas, who participated in the editing of

American Graffiti

or

Taxi Driver,

suggests that he kill him.

George Lucas would later explain that he thought "it would be much more powerful, satisfying and interesting if Darth Vader killed him and took on another form."

»

This decision is not without consequences.

The creator of the saga will say in this same interview that killing Kenobi presented challenges for the rest of the first trilogy.

Luke still needed to be trained and that's why he ended up creating Yoda.

The fate of Obi-Wan Kenobi pisses off his first interpreter, Sir Alec Guiness, who threatens to withdraw from the film.

George Lucas convinces him of the narrative interest of his decision.

Obi-Wan Kenobi doesn't really die, he physically disappears to become one with the Force.

He thus becomes a spirit capable of guiding the young man and his disembodied voice comes at the crucial moment of the attack on the Death Star with the famous line: “Use the Force, Luke”.

Toshiro Mifune tipped to play Obi-Wan Kenobi

George Lucas relies on four still unknown actors for the casting of the first opus of the saga.

Twentieth Century Fox is worried about having no stars in the credits.

The director initially thinks of offering the role to the Japanese Toshiro Mifune.

The hero of Seven Samurai refuses: "My father told me that he had been offered the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi, but that he was concerned about the way the film would be received and the image of the samurai devalued, a figure on which George Lucas had based a lot for his character and his fighting style, ”explained his daughter in 2015.

George Lucas is looking for a distinguished and charismatic actor.

He sets his sights on the Englishman Alec Guiness, winner of an Oscar for

The Bridge on the River Kwai

, with some forty films, including blockbusters like

Doctor Zhivago

or

Lawrence of Arabia

.

Alec Guiness' dislike of 'Star Wars'

Sir Alec Guinness has never hidden his aversion to science fiction films.

When offered the role in 1975, he wrote a letter to his longtime friend, Anne Kaufman, in which he called the film "fairy-tale nonsense".

However, he is considering accepting to shoot the feature film: "Science fiction – which makes me think – but it will be directed by [George] Lucas who did

American Graffiti

, which gives me the impression that I should To do.

»

On the set, the British actor is not tender.

“I came back to London tonight to shoot in the studio until the end of the week.

I can't say I enjoy the film, I'm regularly brought new rotten dialogue on pink slips of paper – and none of it clarifies my character or makes it bearable, he writes to Anne Kaufman.

I have to go back to the studio and work with a dwarf (he's adorable, - and he has to wash in a bidet) and your compatriot Mark Hamill, as well as Tennyson (it can't be that) Ford - Ellison (? - No! *) – well, a spindly, languid young man who is probably smart and funny.

But, my God, my God, they make me look like I'm 90 – and treat me like I'm 106.”

The character owes a lot to his original performer and his past as a comedic actor for Ealing Studios.

Sir Alec Guinness infuses Obi-Wan Kenobi with his charm, an underlying, barely restrained sarcasm.

Alec Guiness would eventually change his tune in his biography, where he hailed

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

as "a pretty astounding film as a spectacle and technically brilliant."

Exciting, very loud and warm.

»

The esteemed actor hated the thought of being remembered for this role.

When a young fan, who had seen the film more than 100 times, came to ask for an autograph.

The actor agreed to sign on the condition that the fan promise to never watch the film again because "it's going to have a deleterious effect on your life".

Even though Alec Guiness didn't quite understand why people loved the movie so much, he could see it resonated.

He agreed to shoot in the other two opuses of the first trilogy.

Star Wars brought him a lot of money: he had negotiated almost 2% of all receipts.

Ewan McGregor in the footsteps of Alec Guiness

“Ewan McGregor is a rising star in the European film industry, declared George Lucas in the special issue of Lucasfilm magazine in the fall of 1999. He is a very powerful actor, he has the energy, the grace and the enthusiasm to play the young Obi-Wan.

“When the official announcement of his presence in the credits of the prelogy in 1997, Ewan McGregor exclaims: “We can not refuse such a proposal, can we?

".

To prepare for the role, the actor born in Scotland works gestures and mimicry, the accent and the rhythm of the sentences of Alec Guinness.

Like his predecessor, he complained about the filming "which had become the very example of boredom" because of the special effects "so complicated to put in place".

He is reconciled with the saga with episode II: “there was more room for humor and (…) we injected a little humanity, which is a good thing.

»

If Alec Guiness brings sarcasm to the character, Ewan McGregor gives him crazy charm.

His rendition of Obi-Wan's memorable phrase, "Hello you," as he single-handedly singles out General Grievous on Utapau in

Revenge of the Sith

, barely holding back a confident smile, made of the character an inescapable meme.

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