Fans of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope can almost picture, frame by frame, the scene in which Obi-Wan Kenobi, played by the venerated actor Sir Alec Guinness, gets sliced to ribbons by Sith lord Darth Vader. Between that death and Luke’s agonized “No!” seconds after, it’s hard to tell exactly what was more painful about that scene in the movie. However, according to Peter Mayhew, who played the beloved Chewbacca, that was not always the way it was going to go down for the mighty Jedi who became Luke’s mentor.
Mayhew posted the scene in which Obi-Wan Kenobi survives, and it proves an interesting shift in the storyline, as fans are then able to contemplate what could have been. As Tech Times points out, Obi-Wan Kenobi and his survival leaves no real motivation for Luke to seek out Yoda’s training, and that, of course, is one of the pivotal plot points in the second part of the trilogy.
— Peter Mayhew (@TheWookieeRoars) April 13, 2016
With 437 retweets and about 1,100 likes, it’s pretty clear that fans are enjoying this rare treat from the original script for A New Hope. Obi-Wan Kenobi not only survives his duel with Darth Vader, according to the Independent, he is aided by Luke to get away from the Sith lord and even cuts through a swath of stormtroopers as they race to the Millennium Falcon to make good their escape.
Fan response to the Obi-Wan Kenobi reveal has been understandably mixed.
There are those who also suggest that if Obi-Wan Kenobi actually survived A New Hope, pretty much anything could have been possible in the Star Wars universe.
Mayhew has been sharing details from his original shooting script for A New Hope, and it is definitely interesting for fans to contemplate what the Star Wars storyline would have ultimately looked like had Obi-Wan Kenobi survived. How would Luke have ultimately learned Darth Vader was his father? That Luke was his sister?
In addition to the Obi-Wan Kenobi surprise, fans have also seen the answer — the original one, at least — to the age old question about whether it was Han Solo or Greedo who shot first in that key scene in Mos Eisley Cantina. That question in particular has been a topic of much debate among Star Wars fans for the last 40 years.
An original script does not necessarily turn into a shooting script, however, and according to Gizmodo, Star Wars director George Lucas took Guinness aside when he decided that Obi-Wan Kenobi should actually be cut down by his former student and broke the news that Obi-Wan Kenobi would not actually survive. According to Gizmodo, Guinness was less than pleased with the decision and that ultimately led to what many reports indicate were bitter feelings towards the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi for years.
Gizmodo also reports in another article that Lucas also contemplated bringing Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda back to life in the flesh at the end of Return of the Jedi but ultimately decided against it.
Also interesting about Mayhew’s reveal is that the word “Sith” is actually used in the scene between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader. It’s a word that was never said in the original trilogy and actually didn’t get said on screen until the prequel series of films.
Obi-Wan Kenobi’s survival in one of the original scripts reveals something of Lucas’ thought process while writing A New Hope, and while Obi-Wan Kenobi did not truly live to see the end of A New Hope, the Star Wars universe was able to take the shape it did because of the sacrifice Obi-Wan Kenobi ultimately made.
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