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Star Wars could’ve had Christopher Walken as Han Solo and Jodie Foster as Princess Leia

An old man talks in Dune: Part Two.
Warner Bros.

The great thing about a hit movie is that you tend to find out things during interviews, premieres, and press conferences that would have never surfaced otherwise. Dune: Part Two is one such movie. In the lead-up to the movie’s blockbuster opening weekend, we’ve discovered Josh Brolin’s hidden talents as a poet and photographer, Javier Bardem’s dedication to his children, Zendaya’s love for the sci-fi classic Metropolis, and Austin Butler’s appreciation for The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

The most recent revelation, however, tops all of those. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Christopher Walken, who plays Shaddam IV, the film’s fearsome Emperor, explains why he came out of a four-year break from acting in films and joined Dune: Part Two. One reason was due to his admiration for the first film, which cemented Denis Villeneuve‘s status as one of the best sci-fi directors ever, and his appreciation of the sequel’s impressive cast, which also includes Florence Pugh, Rebecca Ferguson, and Dave Bautista.

Another reason was due to his long-held desire to star in a big sci-fi epic, which he had tried to make happen when he auditioned for a now-famous sci-fi property in the mid-1970s. No, he didn’t audition for Logan’s Run; he read for Star Wars, George Lucas’ epic tale set in a galaxy far, far, away. And before you assume it was for Darth Vader, think again; it was for Han Solo!

Han Solo points at himself in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
20th Century Fox / 20th Century Fox

In the interview, Walken recalled the time 50 years ago when he tried to join the Rebel Alliance: “I think it was for Han Solo,” Walken tells his interviewer, Anthony Breznican. “Yes, I auditioned for it. And if I’m not mistaken, my partner in the audition was — I think this is true — it was Jodie Foster. I think we did a screen test. I’m not sure we did a scene. Maybe we just sat in front of, in those days, those old videotape cameras … I did audition for Star Wars, but so did about 500 other actors. It was lots of people doing that.”

The reveal of Jodie Foster as Leia isn’t new, however, as the actress herself made headlines just last month when she disclosed on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon that she was offered the role of Princess Leia and turned it down due to her then-still active contract with Disney. Start watching at the 3:14 minute mark below:

Jodie Foster Reveals She Was Offered the Role of Princess Leia in Star Wars (Extended)

So tonight, as you tuck your kids in their beds or gaze at the stars in your backyard, wonder at an alternate timeline that has Christopher Walken shooting Greedo first and Jodie Foster beckoning Obi-Wan Kenobi to save her doomed planet. Stranger things have happened; our actual timeline, after all, has Chris Pratt voicing Mario in The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Mamma mia!

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Jason Struss
Section Editor, Entertainment
Jason is a writer, editor, and pop culture enthusiast whose love for cinema, television, and cheap comic books has led him to…
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