The not-so-crazy old man
EWAN MCGREGOR CERTAINLY claims the bulk of the character’s screen time, and certainly no-one since Chuck Norris has sported the mullet-and-beard combo with similar aplomb. But for the quintessential Kenobi, we need look no further than Sir Alec Guinness. A classically trained thespian who considered the entire endeavour beneath him (“Fairy-tale rubbish”), Guinness brought a muchneeded gravitas to the role, and to Star Wars as a whole, effortlessly selling the kooky concept of the Force (“It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together”) in a way few lesser actors could. From the moment he strides, howling, from the Jundland Wastes to rescue Luke from Tusken Raiders, Guinness’ space wizard installs himself as the story’s moral compass, inspiring, teaching and mentoring, before laying down his life so that his pupil might live.
Nor did he go quietly into that good night, either, sticking around as a bluetinged Force ghost to shape events long after his untimely passing, beautifully annunciated epithets popping into young Skywalker’s head in his hours of greatest need. The Gandalf to Luke’s Bilbo, the Morpheus to his Neo, Kenobi continued the grand tradition of mysterious patrons dispensing cryptic wisdom and bestowing great power. Yes, his star pupil wiped out the Jedi, slaughtered millions and doomed the galaxy to decades of tyrannical rule, but that’s a minor blemish on an otherwise spotless record.