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Jodie Foster Reveals She Was Offered The Role Of Princess Leia, And Why She Didn’t Take It

 Jodie Foster in The Silence of the Lambs.
Jodie Foster in The Silence of the Lambs.

It’s always a somewhat fun exercise to wonder what a movie would have been like if a different actor who had been offered a major role had taken it. The Matrix with Will Smith would have been a very different sort of movie, but probably not as different as Star Wars starring Jodie Foster as Princess Leia. And yet, that’s something that very nearly happened.

Jodie Foster, who leads the new True Detective cast, recently appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where she spoke briefly about the fact that she had been offered the role of Princess Leia. She says she turned it down because she was already committed to making another movie and didn’t want to deal with getting out of the contract. Foster explained…

I was, yeah. They were going for a younger Princess Leia but I had a conflict. I was doing a Disney movie and I just didn’t want to pull out of the Disney movie. because I was already under contract.

The movie Jodie Foster made, which you can watch right now if you have a Disney+ subscription, was called Candleshoe. And while it’s a cute little story where Foster plays a girl roped into a conspiracy to steal a treasure from an English estate, let’s just say it did not have the cultural or box office impact of Star Wars.

Jodie Foster as Princess Leia is an interesting thought experiment because just that one change would have likely had a massive impact on the entire Star Wars franchise. Princess Leia being a young girl instead of a young woman would have, assuming all other characters ended up more or less as we know them, changed Leia’s relationship with Han, and the fact that Luke and Leia wouldn’t be twins would also change the story of Anakin and Padme in the prequels.

For her part, Jodie Foster says she’s not sure how good Star Wars would have been if she’d been in it. She’s downplaying her abilities, Jodie Foster has been a great actress for her entire career. And who knows, with all the upcoming Star Wars movies and series, maybe there will be a place for her in the franchise one day.  There is at least one thing Foster jokes she might have done differently, saying…

I might have had different hair.

There’s no reason to believe that Star Wars’ success would have been any different with a different Leia, so if Jodie Foster had taken the role, we can guess it would have drastically changed her own career. It doesn’t mean she wouldn’t have still made all the great films she has, but it likely would have changed her relationship with that audience. Check out Jodie Foster’s full comments on her almost role in Star Wars below.

Star Wars certainly worked out just fine, but Jodie Foster as Princess Leia is an interesting idea. With the recent rumor of a possible What If…? Style show for Star Wars, maybe it could do an episode with Foster voicing a younger Leia. There are no Jodie Foster movies on the 2024 release schedule, but we can be sure it won't b too long before she's back in front of, or behind, the camera again.