Even the most devout of Star Wars fans may not have known that Leonardo DiCaprio was up for the role as Anakin Skywalker in place of Hayden Christensen. Obviously, he turned it down.
DiCaprio wasn’t the only one on the list of stars up for the iconic role either. In fact, Spider-Man’s Toby Maguire and Chris O’Donnell, who played Robin in Batman Forever, were also considered for the role.
Regarding his possible role in the Star Wars prequels Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, DiCaprio admitted to ShortList, “I did have a meeting with George Lucas about that, yes. [I] just didn’t feel ready to take that dive. At that point.”
Based on DiCaprio’s success since that time, it may have been the right career choice for him. He went on to earn five Oscar nominations and play in several unique films that helped him develop his own personal brand as an actor. If he had played as Anakin Skywalker, he may have been branded by that character and had a difficult time separating from that in his individual career.
In regard to what playing such a role may have done to his career, he explained the following:
“A lot of people may look at what I’ve done career-wise and say that there was a period in which I tried to possibly become a movie star, per se, (and) tried to go for much bigger pictures. The truth of the matter is, there was a period of time, very early on, when I started watching films and having heroes in the industry, actor-wise. But I feel I’ve been consistent about my dreams and what I wanted to be as an actor.”
DiCaprio isn’t the only actor to feel disconnected from the Star Wars films. Harrison Ford has also expressed that he was under-enthused to play Han Solo, one of the most iconic and beloved characters in movie history.
Ford has never been a big fan of his character, Han Solo. He’s said several things about him over the years, including, “He was not so interesting to me,” and “He’s certainly a much less interesting character than Indiana Jones,” as well as “He’s dumb as a stump.”
Ford even tried to convince Lucas to kill off his character before the end of the Return of the Jedi. When asked in a previous interview about how he felt about his time as Han Solo, Ford remarked that the experience was nondescript, and just another set.
However, he did admit that he enjoyed being a part in the latest film. He told fans at Comic-Con’s The Force Awakens panel, “It should have felt ridiculous! Here I was, doing something I did so long ago. I will tell you that it felt great,” he said after a pause for dramatic affect. “I was proud and grateful to once again be involved.”
At 41, Leonardo DiCaprio admits being part of the Skywalker legacy wouldn’t be so bad in the future. “You never know,” he said in the interview. “You never know. They’re getting better and better as far as complex characters in these movies. I haven’t yet. But no, I don’t rule out anything.”
As for the real Anakin Skywalker, we haven’t seen much of him since the Revenge of the Sith film aired. After receiving much criticism for his role in the film, Hayden Christensen walked away from Hollywood for awhile. He’s appeared in a few TV movies and similar productions, but nothing A-lister like we might have expected following such a major start.
Most recently, Christensen has starred in 90 Minutes of Heaven, a small studios film. He explained his break from Hollywood to the Los Angeles Times, saying, “I guess I felt like I had this great thing in Star Wars that provided all these opportunities and gave me a career, but it all kind of felt a little too handed to me. I didn’t want to go through life feeling like I was just riding a wave.”
If Leonardo DiCaprio’s career had done anything like Hayden Christensen’s following the then-final Star Wars film, it may be a good thing that he decided not to play Anakin Skywalker.
[Image via Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]