08.12.2021

Actors who were nearly cast in Star Wars films show that the galaxy could’ve looked so much different

Al Pacino turned down role of Han Solo…

It’s hard to believe how much different the Star Wars franchise could’ve looked if these other actors had landed the primary roles…

While talking during “An Evening with Pacino” event in 2013, the Al revealed that he had the opportunity to play the role of Han Solo.

“It was mine for the taking but I didn’t understand the script,” he said.

Burt Reynolds felt bad turning down the role of Han Solo.

The man, the legend, told Business Insider that he wasn’t interested in that sort of role at the time he was asked to play Han.

“I just didn’t want to play that kind of role at the time,” he told BI. “Now I regret it. I wish I would have done it.”

Sylvester Stallone auditioned to play Han Solo.

Syl told Jimmy Fallon on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” that he bombed his audition on purpose.

“Let me just make it easy for you,” Stallone told Fallon of what he said to George Lucas and his producers. “I would look like crap in spandex leotards and a ray gun. Guys in space don’t have this face. I get it.”

Kurt Russell was in the running to play Han Solo (OR potentially even Luke Skywalker).

Kurt Russell mentioned to USA Today that he auditioned for the roles but ended up taking a western show on ABC.

“[I was] interviewing for the part of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. On tape, it exists,” he said. “I didn’t have any idea what I was talking about. Something about a Death Star and a Millennium Falcon. I was actually pretty [close], in the final running, but I needed to give an answer to ABC to do a western show. I asked George, ‘Do you think you’re gonna use me?’ He said, ‘I don’t know if I want to put you with him, or those two guys together.’ I got to go to work, so I did the western. Clearly, made the right choice.”

The western only ran for one season.

Jodie Foster was considered to play Princess Leia.

Jodie Foster was only in her teens when there was interest in her for the role of Princess Leia. She explained to Total Film that she was too busy doing other projects at the time when you opted out.

“I was doing two films back-to-back at the time,” she said. “It would have been fun. But my career would have been different, and I’m happy with the one I’ve got so I don’t really regret it. And honestly, I was 14 or 15 at the time and it was when they were still conceiving those characters as very young. By the time they got to making it, they had a totally different conception of the film.”

Leonardo DiCaprio was nearly Anakin Skywalker in the prequel trilogy.

Leo told ShortList that he met with George Lucas over the role but ultimately he wasn’t feeling it.

“[I] just didn’t feel ready to take that dive,” he said. “At that point.”

Ryan Phillippe also read for the part of Anakin Skywalker.

Ryan Phillippe explained to MTV in 2008 that he actually read with Natalie Portman for the part of Anakin.

“I read with Natalie Portman,” he said. “I think it was sort of an age thing in their mind. It wasn’t quite right, but yeah, they were interested.”

Rooney Mara mentioned playing the role of Jyn Erso with the “Rogue One” director.

Rooney Mara never acutally auditioned for the part, however, she did meet with director Gareth Edwards to discuss the film.

She told Deadline, “I met with the director, and I really liked him, but then I didn’t end up reading for it. I was working and it wasn’t the right thing for me, so I decided not to read for it.”

Michael Fassbender was up allegedly up for an unspecified role in “The Force Awakens.”

Michael Fassbender mentioned he had spoken with director JJ Abrams about a part in an interview for MTV’s “Happy, Sad, Confused” podcast.

“We talked about a role,” he said. “We had a conversation. I’m pretty sure I was busy doing something else in the summer he was kickstarting that.”

Saoirse Ronan, like many others, auditioned for a part in “The Force Awakens.”

In 2013, when very little was known about “The Force Awakens,” Ronan told Empire that tried out for a role. It’s not known exactly what part Saoirse Ronan auditioned for, but her detailed description of the audition process seems to point to key character of Rey.

“Everyone has auditioned for it,” she said. “So many people I know have gone in for the part I’ve gone in for, and guys who’ve gone in for a particular part, so I’d imagine J.J. [Abrams, the director] is probably just scanning the earth to find the people that ne needs, but nobody has a clue what it’s about, and nobody’s read the script. … I think it’s the only time I’ve ever thought, ‘You know what? Even if I don’t get it, I had so much fun auditioning, pretending to take out a lightsaber out of a bag, kind of inspect it, and not know what it is.’”

Eddie Redmayne bombed his audition for Kylo Ren in “The Force Awakens.”

Eddie Redmayne revealed to Uproxx that he had a terrible audition for Kylo Ren.

“They gave me like a ‘Star Trek’ scene – or like something from ‘Pride and Prejudice,’” he said. “With films that top secret, they don’t give you the actual lines…but then they tell you you’re auditioning for the baddie. If you’re me, you then put some ridiculous voice on.”

Michael Jackson reportedly wanted to play Jar Jar Binks. Of course he did.

Ahmed Best, who ended up playing Jar Jar Binks, told Vice that the King of Pop had expressed interest in the role but director George Lucas turned him down.

“Me, Natalie Portman, and George’s kids – we were at Wembley arena at Michael Jackson’s concert. We were taken backstage and we met Michael,” he said. “George introduced me as ‘Jar Jar’ and I was like, ‘That’s kind of weird.’”

Best asked Lucas why he said that.

“He said, ‘Well, Michael wanted to do the part but he wanted to do it in prosthetics and makeup like ‘Thriller,’” Best said. “George wanted to do it in CGI. My guess is ultimately Michael Jackson would have been bigger than the movie, and I don’t think he wanted that.”

Gary Oldman had been pegged to play General Grievous in “Revenge of the Sith.”

Gary Oldman was reportedly offered the role but politely turned it down because he didn’t want to break a regulation from the Screen Actors Guild banning its members from working on a non-SAG set.

Oldman’s manager Doug Urbanski described, “We did urge Lucas[film] to ask SAG for special permission for Gary to do the movie, but they became very annoyed and I know they are still annoyed. We’re quite puzzled by the whole thing. But out of respect for and solidarity with the other (SAG) members, he could not and would not consider violating the rules of his union.”

Toshiro Mifune’s daughter mentioned that he turned down two separate “Star Wars” roles.

In 2015, Mika Mifune said of her famous father that he was afraid of how the role might appear cheap.

“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,” she said. “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.”

Orson Welles’ voice was almost used for Darth Vader, if you can even imagine how different that would’be been from the iconic James Earl Jones.

In 2015, George Lucas revealed it was between Orson Welles and James Earl Jones to voice the “Star Wars” villain but easily picked Jones.

“I created a villain … I knew the voice had to be very, very special,” Lucas said. “And I had to make a choice – a choice that was a tough choice, but an easy choice, really – between Orson Welles and James Earl Jones …. [Jones] won hands down.”

Thank God for that.

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