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Opinions: Who was the better Obi Wan Kenobie ?

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Jinn-N-Tonic, Sep 17, 2006.

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  1. Jinn-N-Tonic

    Jinn-N-Tonic Jedi Knight star 1

    Jul 17, 2006
    Although I liked the original trilogy better than the prequel trilogy, in my opinion I thought Ewan McGregor was the better Obi Wan Kenobie. Although I respect Alec Guiness as the originator of the role, I think it was Ewan that took the role farther in a better direction forever changing my opinion about the Obi Wan character. I always liked Obi Wan during the original trilogy but he was far from being my favoriye character.

    Now that I've seen the prequel trilogy and the excellent performance from Ewan McGregor, Obi Wan ranks up there as one of my favorite characters in the saga.

    I'll admit that I didn't think much of Ewan and/or the Obi Wan character durring TPM. It was AOTC and ROTS that enhanced the character for me.
  2. Alpha-Red

    Alpha-Red Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Apr 25, 2004
    I dunno. In a way, they portray two very different people so you can't really compare. In the same way that you're not the person you were ten years ago, Obi-Wan was not the person he was during the Clone Wars.

    I would say that the PT Obi-Wan is more interesting, however =P
  3. Darth_Davi

    Darth_Davi Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jul 29, 2005
    yea, this is a weird topic for me, as usually, I am come down on the side of the OT over the PT, anyday...But, if you were to ask me who played Obi-Wan, my first instinct is no longer to say Alec Guinness, but Ewan McGregor. The name Obi-Wan Kenobi summons up imagery of Ewan in ROTS in my head now, when it used to be Alec Guinness. Based on my own subconscience, I gotta say, I think I like PT Kenobi better....
  4. WyoJedi

    WyoJedi Jedi Youngling star 4

    Nov 7, 2005
    I think the character is so different in the two trilogies that it is hard to choose. Ewan portrays Obi-Wan as the 25-38 year old Jedi in his prime. Alec Guiness portrays him as the wizened 57 year old Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi, the desert hermit.

    I agree though that when the name Obi-Wan comes to mind, I think Ewan. If you say Ben Kenobi, my mind automatically goes to Alec Guiness. I love the OT, always have, always will. But I have to say that Ewan really expanded the character and made him "come alive".

  5. Knight-8311

    Knight-8311 Jedi Youngling star 1

    Sep 18, 2006
    ewan went the extra mile to try and match alec guinness' performance but still alec had that classic feel and its so ironic that he hated the charecter.
  6. Master_Starwalker

    Master_Starwalker Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 20, 2003
    I personally view them as being equal but different performances. However, when I hear the name Obi-Wan Kenobi Ewan in Episode 3 is what comes to mind whereas when I think of Alec I think of Old Ben Kenobi.
  7. NeoBaggins

    NeoBaggins Jedi Master star 5

    Oct 28, 2003
    Ewan McGregor's portrayal of Obi Kenobi is the heart of the prequel trilogy. He is all that is good in these films. He is a true hero, the character and heart of these films, and Ewan's performance is carismatic and colorful. And if we continue in event order, Alec Guniess shows you just how good McGregor was when you see his performance in A new hope. Obi Wan holds the older crouds attention with his commanding presense and wise nature at the same time being a wizard action hero for the kids. His worth is undeniable here.

    Who was the BETTER Obi Wan? Neither; Obi Wan's character is kept consistant and untarnished through both performances. Two great actors played a single character in two different points in his life. The better Obi Wan are the ones chosen for the saga.
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  8. exar-tull

    exar-tull Jedi Master star 5

    Feb 22, 2001
    niether their about the same in my book,but i think of ewan megregor more because he did alot more with obi-wans character within the entire saga.
  9. sonofcoruscant

    sonofcoruscant Jedi Knight star 2

    Feb 14, 2006
    I have to say that I could not choose. They were both outstanding, and this is coming from an old OT fanatic, but I really think that Obi Was is one of the few elements of the OT that benifited from the PT having been made. I feel like I never really knew Obi Wan before, but I do now. Ewans portrayal was amazing.
  10. Malikail

    Malikail Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jun 17, 2004
    Ewan is great at imitating the one and only true kenobi, Alec Guiness.

    should have been a poll question i think.

    I love his portrayal in the PT but he's just not as accomplished an actor and doesn't carry off the mystical magical quality of the character as well as Alec Guiness, but i do think he did a hell of a good job trying to.

    Noone could have done a better job of trying to be Alec Guiness than Ewan did and it's a testimony to his dedication and acting, in this case being #2 is still a win, not comming in last.
  11. bibfortuitous

    bibfortuitous Jedi Master star 3

    Oct 7, 2000
    I love McGregors performance in the prequels and how he tried to tie his Obi-wan to Guiness in ANH. He did it.

    However, Guiness had about half of one film (In ESB and ROTJ he appears briefly but only really as exposition or to move the plot along) to present to the viewing audience of 1977 the concept on the Jedi and what they once represented. He gives the character an effortless warmth and underlying sense of danger, great wisdom, power but also deep regret. To my mind he lays the foundations in less than an hour for everything Ewan was to expand and build on in three films.

    Both will always be Obi-wan to me. I just feel that Guiness was Obi-wan for 23 years and thats a long time to be an icon of popular culture. Despite his limited role in the OT everyone remembers him. Ewan has a long way to go to be as iconic in the role. Thats just part of the original SW phenomina.

    I also don't believe that Guiness hated the role. He hated that it overshadowed his brilliant career before Star Wars and the obsessive fandom that it attracted.
  12. princessleia911

    princessleia911 Jedi Padawan star 4

    May 25, 2005
    I agree that it is a tie. Ewan just fleshs out Obi-Wan much more, but Alec laid the foundations. I agree that they are 2 flawless performances that merge into one strong, loveable character.
  13. Malikail

    Malikail Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jun 17, 2004
    i like the way you put this.

    the reason Alec Guiness' performance stands out so much is because he "made" the whole saga in the scene in ben's hut telling luke about the jedi.

    that is the critical scene that made all of it happen, without that scene there is no "star wars" phenomenon in 77, no sequal, no saga.

    just pointing out how large he looms over all of it for his perfomance in one scene, it's amazing to think that if another actor had been cast in the part we might never had had a star wars other than a B grade flick that was somewhat entertaining.

    many others contributed and i am not trying to ignore the other great perfomances of what is now called ANH but that one scene was the "IT" moment of the series and the saga that has never been duplicated or equaled.
  14. Master_Starwalker

    Master_Starwalker Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 20, 2003
    I agree with both posts, hence the quoting.
  15. Knight-8311

    Knight-8311 Jedi Youngling star 1

    Sep 18, 2006
    the scene in bens hut is one of my favorites in the whole saga. The way ben tells the story of the jedi and the republic and alecs guinness' performance its the definition of iconic.
  16. guinual

    guinual Jedi Youngling

    Sep 20, 2006
    Its really hard to tell..but I would say both of them did equally fantastic jobs! In the sense that one - as so flawlessly a continuation of the other. Ewan's performance was so powerful while Alec's was so sublime - so as a previous post would say - ICONIC.
  17. DarknessofDeath

    DarknessofDeath Jedi Padawan star 4

    Sep 23, 2006
    One can't be better than the other as one can't suck more than the other but with all due respect, when it comes to PT Obiwan, Ewan comes to mind. Whereas when I think of Old Ben Kenobi, Alec. Both actors portrayed 'Obi-wan' the way I imagined. I liked both but as one character= Obi-wan in his prime - 'lonely' strange old kermit who calls himself Ben Kenobi.

  18. Darth_BADLungs_Vader

    Darth_BADLungs_Vader Jedi Youngling star 1

    May 18, 2006
    When I think of Obi Wan Ewan comes to mind. He did such a great job with that charecter.
  19. ShrunkenJedi

    ShrunkenJedi Jedi Knight star 5

    Apr 26, 2003
    Kermit? We're not talking about Yoda here... I think you mean hermit :p

    But seriously. I would tend to agree. Alec's performance is gold, and what set the stage for Ewan's performance. However, Ewan did such a good job of picking up on the nuances of Alec's performance that the character flows wonderfully from the PT to the OT. And Ewan has a larger role now than Alec had in the OT. Great character, can't pick an actor.
  20. DarknessofDeath

    DarknessofDeath Jedi Padawan star 4

    Sep 23, 2006
    Sorry, my bad. I meant to hermit, not kermit. LOL. In retrospect, yeah, I see both as one character arc seeing how important he was and the role he played in all 6 films but in Ep3 most of all.
  21. AdamBertocci

    AdamBertocci Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 3, 2002
    Considering that the entire jumping-off point of Ewan's performance was to imitate Sir Alec's this is an odd question. It's phrased in a way that implies that the two trilogies are different interpretations of the same pre-existing character, like the different James Bond or Willy Wonka actors.

    It is abundantly clear that Ewan has more to do, which helps, but one can hardly say that he did a better job at being the Alec Guinness character than Sir Alec did... I'm reminded of the time Charlie Chaplin entered a Chaplin look-alike contest and came in third.

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  22. Gungan_Sith

    Gungan_Sith Jedi Youngling star 1

    Jun 11, 2005
    Both Ewan McGregor and Alec Guinness were excellent in their respective films. However, Ewan McGregor WAS Obi-Wan Kenobi for me. Whenever I hear that name, I imagine Kenobi from AOTC as played by Ewan. Alec Guinness was excellent and brought experience to the cast of ANH, but I just liked Ewan better.
  23. Jinn-N-Tonic

    Jinn-N-Tonic Jedi Knight star 1

    Jul 17, 2006
    I guess it all comes down to what part of the character's life was more interesting.

    I'm sorry but IMO Old Ben wasn't that interesting or that likeable of a character. He constantly lied to Luke and it almost seemed that he was using him as a tool to defeat Vader and Sidious.

    Also the main reason why the Ben vs Vader duel was so lame was because Sir Alec was either too old and/or never bothered to train for it. It was borderline ridiculous because they looked like two old men hitting each other's broom sticks.

    I'm sorry but that's my opinion and I'm sticking to it. Ewan was the better Obi Wan.
  24. Darth_Cerus

    Darth_Cerus Jedi Youngling star 1

    Jan 10, 2006
    It is a difficult one. Since the OT people have wanted to see what Ben Kenobi was like in his younger days and Ewan McGregor's portrayal doesn't disappoint. He does seem to channel the spirit of Alec Guiness.
  25. Jedsithor

    Jedsithor Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Oct 1, 2005
    I actually think the PT makes Guinness' performance better. Not that it was bad or anything, it was great. What I mean is that with the PT, every line, every look...everything that Alec does takes on new meaning and adds another dimension to his performance even though it was unintentional (given that there was no PT in 1977.

    It's the same with Owen Lars when he talks about Anakin, it takes on a whole new meaning. Thats why I think it's best to watch the OT, then the PT and then the OT again.

    But getting back to the role of Obi-Wan, I think that Ewan had the harder job, especially because the role had been played already by Guinness and it was something that any actor would struggle to live up to.

    How hard is it to match Guinness'? Well to quote what is perhaps the Jedi's most famous line:

    "That's no's a space station."

    Destroying the Death Star was a near-impossible task, but Luke did it.

    Living up to an iconic character portrayed so well by one of the greatest actors of the last century is equally improbable...but Ewan did one hell of a job.
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