Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune, best known for his role in the iconic Rashomon, was asked by George Lucas to play either Obi-Wan Kenobe or Darth Vader — and turned down his offer.

The original director of the Star Wars franchise first offered the role of Obi-Wan to Mifune, a frequent collaborator with Akira Kurosawa, who was featured in over 170 films, including Yojimbo, The Seven Samurai and The Hidden Forest, the latter of which was the movie on which the first Star Wars film itself was based.

According to his daughter, Mika Mifune, at a kickoff announcement event for Tokyo Comic Con, her father was apprehensive that Lucas' film would misinterpret and do a disservice to Japanese culture at large.

She reported that her father told her George Lucas had offered him the role of Obi-Wan Kanobe in Star Wars but thought the movie would cheapen the image of the samurai, which is something Mifune took very seriously.

Mifune's refusal also had to do with the status of sci-fi films at the time, which were seen as genre low-brow.

"At the time, sci-fi movies still looked quite cheap as the effects were not advanced and he had a lot of samurai pride," Mika continued. "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."

Via: The Guardian

Photo: japanesefilmarchive | Flickr

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