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Toshiro Mifune plays Obi-Wan Kenobi by Steve Payne

Author says: what if George Lucas had brought Japanese influences to the foreground of the movie "Star Wars"? Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).

In 1976, on March 22nd the filming of the planet Tatooine scenes for the cult movie "A New Hope" began in the Tunisian desert.

Seeking to replicate the plot and characters of the jidai-geki film "the Hidden Fortress", Director George Lucas had cast an Asian actor, Toshiro Mifune (pictured) for the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Click to view Sources of Star Wars on Youtube

Financial backers had strongly urged Lucas to cast a white actor for the principal roles. But greatly impressed by his masterful portrayal of the "roving warrior" archetype General Rokurota, Lucas had disregarded that advice, choosing instead to focus on the artistic depiction of a Jedi Knight. In any case, he had already offered the role of Han Solo to the African American actor Billy Dee Williams who was also considered for the secondary role of Lando Calrissian.

Fortunately, Lucas sustained the financial support of the backers by persuading Christopher Lee to play the part of Grand Moff Tarkin. Having examine the script, Lee had been initially dismissive, instead recommending that Lucas approach another English actor, his friend Peter Cushing. However the inclusion of Mifune changed his mind, having seen a fresh and compelling opportunity to participate in a neo-classic movie rather than the American space opera film that the plotline had initially suggested to him.

Author says to view guest historian's comments please visit the Today in Alternate History web site.

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Steve Payne, Editor of Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today. Follow us on Facebook, Myspace and Twitter.

Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.


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