Obi-Wan Kenobi became one with the Force in the first Star Wars movie, but George Lucas originally intended to keep him around a little longer.
Ben Kenobi was an integral part of the Original Trilogy, despite the fact that he also played a key role in the Republic era. Serving as Luke’s first mentor, it was Ben who introduced the young Skywalker to the concept of the Force and the Jedi Order. Facing his former padawan one last time, Kenobi decided to sacrifice himself to give the heroes a chance to escape the Death Star. Of course, Alec Guinness would reprise his role as Obi-Wan’s Force Ghost in the next two installments, guiding Luke in the journey to a Jedi Knight.
Apparently, though, George Lucas originally intended to keep Luke’s master in the physical realm a little while longer. Of course, this isn’t anything out of the ordinary. In fact, the initial versions of Star Wars were nothing like the films we saw as the final product. For instance, the Skywalker name was originally ‘Starkiller,’ and Vader wasn’t Luke’s father, but, in fact, the guy who killed him.
Now, The Peter Mayhew Foundation has posted an early draft of Star Wars: A New Hope which details how Ben Kenobi manages to survive his encounter with Darth Vader and escape alongside Han, Luke, and Leia.
From what we gather, Lucas originally wrote the scene to play out in a way that’d give the heroes a chance to escape without Obi-Wan having to sacrifice himself. After evading Vader and shutting the blast door behind him, Luke and Ben cut through a dozen Stormtroopers and make their way to the Millennium Falcon, thus setting off to Yavin 4 to discuss the imminent threat of the Death Star.
As exciting as this would’ve been, what happened in the final iteration of the story served the overall character arc better and helped the Star Wars lore in a way that’d allow many iconic faces to make a comeback through the Force in future installments.