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Jodie Foster confirms that she nearly played a much younger Princess Leia in original Star Wars

It would have changed a lot about Star Wars, but... we can kind of see it?

Jodie Foster in True Detective
Image credit: HBO

Some roles are so attached to a specific actor that it is hard to imagine that other performers were ever in the running to play them. Who can imagine anyone else but the incredible Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia? Turns out, George Lucas had another actor in mind first – Oscar winner Jodie Foster.

Turns out the True Detective: Night Country actress wasn’t just in consideration to play Leia, but was even offered the part. She discussed how she just missed out on being part of Star Wars history on a recent episode of Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. “I was [offered the role], 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.” She stopped short of saying which Disney film caused her to drop the role. Looking at the timings, it was probably Freaky Friday, which was released in 1976.

Foster also notes that her take on the role would have been very different than Fisher's simply due to her age at the time. Foster would have been 13 and 14 years old when the first movie was filmed as compared to Fisher, who was 19 at the time. Aside from turning the character into a more classic damsel-in-distress, the series would have hopefully written out Leia’s romance with Han Solo for obvious reasons. She probably would have become more fed up with the fandom than Fisher, considering her more recent comments about the superhero movie genre.

Despite the changes it would have made to the character and even though the role has become inexorably linked to Carrie Fisher, Jodie Foster could have done some interesting things with Princess Leia. She has always been a fantastic actress, capable of carrying serious, dramatic roles like in Taxi Driver at a young age, so she would have held her own among the cast while delivering the feisty and commanding princess we’ve come to love.

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