Toshiro Mifune Was Almost Cast As Darth Vader

Posted by Bob Muir on Jan 15, 2013 in Cinema, Star Wars |

Toshiro Mifune & Darth Vader

With Star Wars becoming such a phenomenon over the years and possessing such a rabid fanbase, it’s really fun to see how things might have turned out if, say, the casting had gone differently. At one point, Lucas had offered the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi to Toshiro Mifune, well-known for his roles in Akira Kurosawa’s films like Seven Samurai and Yojimbo. Star Wars itself was heavily influenced by Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress (among other films), so it’s not surprising. But apparently, Lucas may have offered Mifune an additional role: Darth Vader.

On the Japanese world history quiz show Sekai Fushigi Hakken!, we learned of an alternate account from Mifune’s daughter, Mika Mifune. She confirmed the Obi-Wan Kenobi offer, then stated that he was offered the role of Darth Vader. Apparently, Vader’s helmet was designed with Mifune in mind, though if he had accepted the role, his face would have been visible. (There was no word on whether Mifune would have one of his bad-ass beards.) However, Mifune reportedly turned down both roles because he thought Star Wars would just be for kids.

It’s a new bit of trivia, and since Mika Mifune wasn’t born until 1982, she obviously wasn’t there to hear about her father’s negotiations first-hand. But still, can you imagine how different Vader’s character might have been if he was played open-faced by Mifune? It would give the character an entirely different feel, and I doubt that he would turn out to be Luke’s father in a sequel. Let’s pretend that there are lots of alternate universes out there where all these hypothetical alternate Star Wars movies exist — along with the one where the prequels never happened.

Source: Kotaku

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