Mika Mifune once said, “I heard from my father that he was offered the role of Obi Wan Kenobi, but he was concerned about how the film would look and that it would cheapen the image of samurai, on which George Lucas had based a lot of the character and fighting style. At the time, sci-fi movies still looked quite cheap as the effects were not advanced and he had a lot of samurai pride. So then, there was talk about him taking the Darth Vader role as his face would be covered, but in the end he turned that down too.”
Mifune did not, however, turn down the role of Sukezaemon Naya in Daitōzoku, which means The Great Bandit. It was later released in the U.S. as Samurai Pirate and, finally for the purposes of this article, The Lost World of Sinbad*.
Sukezaemon (Mifune) is a pirate who has been shipwrecked in one of the weirdest corners of the world. He must help restore the king to life and defeat an evil premier by joining with some rebels and a wizard to battles a witch, pirates, the imperial guard and free the kingdom from slavery. Yeah, Lucas watched plenty of Mifune’s movies.
*It played double bills with War of the Zombies, which is a crazy pair.