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Obi-Wan’s Original Star Wars Cloak Was Lost For Years, Until it Was Worn By an Extra in 1999's The Mummy

Alec Guinness’ iconic Jedi garb went undiscovered for years as an anonymous rental shop prop.

By Benjamin Bullard
Alec Guinness in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977); Brendan Fraser in The Mummy (1999)

Everyone knows that the first Star Wars movie wasn’t expected by most 1977 observers to do blockbuster box office numbers — let alone blow up the entire Hollywood formula with a seismic bang that dwarfs even the Death Star’s destruction. Maybe that’s why certain props from the movie’s production weren’t more diligently curated in the first place, left instead to float through decades of time like so much forgotten space flotsam.

It’s a little-known fact even today — but one of the most head-turning lapses in the movie’s post-production prop custody was finally unearthed back in 2005, nearly 30 years after Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope first debuted in theaters. The monastic brown Jedi cloak worn by Obi-Wan Kenobi actor Sir Alec Guinness, it turned out, had found its way into an anonymous clothes bin, where it ended up in the possession of a British costume rental shop as just another dressed-up item that anyone could borrow to wear for plays, parties, and — as followup sleuthing later revealed — even in Universal Pictures’ 1999 sci-fi epic The Mummy (stream it here on Peacock).

RELATED: 'The Mummy' director Stephen Sommers muses on what a future sequel might look like

Via a contemporary 2005 report in Australia’s The Age, Guinness’ iconic robe — you know, the very same one that Darth Vader steps on after striking down Obi-Wan on the Death Star — was initially handed over to London costume company Angels and Bermans (now known as Angels Costumes), where it was then “thrown in with hundreds of monks' robes and later rented out to customers.” Remarkably, that fate allowed the cloak to make at least one other big-screen appearance 22 years after Episode IV first debuted, with the garment reportedly being worn by a movie extra in The Mummy.

How Did They Find Obi-Wan's Cloak?

How did the cloak’s iconic Star Wars lineage finally come to light? “One of the guys was sorting through this pile of monks’ robes and saw this brown one with an odd-shaped hood,” Angels and Berman boss Tim Angel told The Age back in 2005. “He put it on and the manager said, ‘Oh my God, it's Alec Guinness's cloak from Star Wars.’ It's unmistakable, an iconic piece.” After researching its ancestry, the company later confirmed that the cloak was indeed the very same one worn by Guinness in the first Star Wars film.

“All this time we have been renting it out to customers wanting to hire a monk's outfit for a fancy dress party,” Angels added. “The robe would have come in just after filming on Star Wars finished and before it was released. It didn't get any special treatment because at that point Star Wars was just another sci-fi film. No-one knew how big it would become.”

Valued upon its 2005 rediscovery at an estimated £25,000 (and no doubt more valuable now), the cloak was eventually auctioned in 2007, reportedly selling to a private bidder for $104,000 at a screen memorabilia event staged by British auctioneering company Bonhams. With no guarantee it’ll ever turn up again to be admired by future audiences, you can bet we’ll be scouring every second of The Mummy’s 125-minute runtime to catch what may be the last known on-camera glimpse of Obi-Wan’s robe — you know, just to see if Jedi apparel looks equally cool in this galaxy.

Watch Brendan Fraser in The Mummy, streaming on Peacock here, along with both 2001’s The Mummy Returns and 2008’s The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.