Obi Wan is the only character to appear within the first six Star Wars films. He appears in voice for the seventh but is absent in the latest Star Wars incarnation, The Last Jedi.¹
Guinness was nominated for an academy award for his 1977 Star Wars performance.
In the Prequel Trilogy (1999-2005), Obi Wan is portrayed by Ewan McGregor.
Most moviegoers and critics generally agree that the Prequel Trilogy isn’t quite as good as the Original Trilogy, but it does highlight the early development of Obi Wan’s charitable character.
In Jungian thought, the Alec Guinness version of Obi Wan exemplifies the archetype of the wise old man. Obi Wan’s miraculous ability to manipulate “The Force” for the greater good also fits with the archetype of the Sacred Warrior.
In the PBS TV series The Power of Myth (1988), the American mythology expert Joseph Campbell says the original Star Wars films are a modern myth. They take ancient themes and recast them in a modern light.
George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, consulted with Campbell while making the original trilogy so the classic “hero cycle,” as scholars put it, would ring true with 20th century moviegoers.
So this is a good example of scholarship having relevance, meeting with pop culture, and actually reaching the people—unlike some scholars who use academe as a kind of hideaway where they can enjoy the good life while doing mediocre work.
¹ Apparently there was not enough archival material to include him, and director Rian Johnson felt that a meeting of Luke Skywalker and Obi Wan played by Ewan McGregor (the second actor to portray Obi Wan) would be emotionally unsatisfying.
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