As this imagining continues about who Lucas would cast in the Star Wars movies if they were filmed chronologically, there is one important thing to consider. Most likely the films would’ve been completely different to the point that characters would change or even be written out altogether. There isn’t any way to accurately factor in how different the films would be. This is pure speculation under the premise that if the storyline remained exactly the same then so would the characters for the most part. As stated previously, there isn’t any way to know if Lucas would’ve gone for these picks or if the actors would accept the offers.
The Original Trilogy: Star Wars Episodes IV-VI
Luke Skywalker: Supposedly, Ryan Phillippe was a thisclose runner-up to play Anakin. So he was in Lucas’ mind. He has the acting ability to add more pathos and angst to Luke as he grows from a simple farm boy to a seasoned warrior throughout the trilogy. Then again Lucas may have hired Hayden Christensen and who knows how that would have turned out. But one actor to consider seriously is Shawn Ashmore, who appeared as Bobby Drake/Iceman in the X-Men films. True he might’ve been a bit young but Luke was supposed to be an innocent farm boy with big dreams.
Han Solo: Thomas Jane has the good looks with a rakish demeanor, plus he’s a talented, underrated actor that could easily play a swasbuckling, rogue spice smuggler who redeems himself and wins a princess’ heart. Of course, a fan-favorite alternative would be Firefly’s Nathan Fillion, his character of Malcolm Reynolds has many of Han’s qualities but Jane looks a bit tougher, the kind of scrappy guy you want on your side during a fight. Also another Firefly alumni that could’ve portrayed a deadlier version of Han is Adam Baldwin.
Leia Organa: Selma Blair has the looks and scrappiness to play the princess-in-distress who can take care of herself in a blaster fight. Perhaps audiences would’ve been spared that goofy hairdo in Episode IV, then again remember those outlandish outfits that Padme wore in Episode I. A viable and spunky alternative is Kelly Macdonald who, like Ewan MacGregor, appeared in the cult classic Trainspotting, so Lucas would’ve still hired someone from that film. Or Morena Baccarin, yet another Firefly alumni, could’ve played a more sultry and exotic Princess Leia.
Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi: It’s likely that Perry King or any other actor who originated the role back in the ’70s and ’80s would have been able to reprise it with the new trilogy. With that stated here’s a curveball of an acting pick: Sean Connery. The man was a legend by 1999. He has that regal yet tough demeanor with a compassionate undercurrent to pull off the role of an old Obi-Wan. This role might’ve prolonged his acting career by a few more years since it wouldn’t have led to him retiring after feeling disgruntled with Hollywood.
Darth Vader: Kurt Russell, who might’ve been picked to play Anakin in the early films, could’ve been persuaded to don a full suit with face-concealing helmet and play Vader. Maybe Ron Pearlman could’ve worn the suit? Otherwise, some unknown, muscular and tall performer would fill in the role. James Earl Jones would’ve done the voice as in the real world. If he wasn’t available then Lucas could’ve gone with Avery Brooks who also has a rich, booming and distinctive voice.
Lando Calrissian: Solid acting ability is just one reason why Blair Underwood is a lock for this role. It calls for someone that is a charming, good-looking, former con man who is forced to turn against Han before joining the rebels in the end. The guy just looks like a hero! Another outside possibility is Terrence Howard who has many of Underwood’s qualities to play Lando.
Grand Moff Tarkin: Christopher Lee should’ve been able to play this role nicely. As seen most recently with Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Lee showed audiences why he makes a great villain with experience going back to the old Hammer films. Then again Lucas may have tapped Terrance Stamp for the role. He did appear as Chancellor Valorum in The Phantom Menace and could play cold, icy villain with his eyes closed.
Boba Fett: If Scott Glenn was cast as Jango then there’s no reason why he couldn’t play his offspring in the final films. That is if Boba had an expanded role in the final films. Otherwise, being that the character had a limited role, spoke a handful of lines and didn’t even remove his helmet, it’s probable that an unknown actor would’ve been cast instead.
Palpatine: Ian McDiarmid would reprise his role as the Emperor for the final two films. The makeup might be different. That of course depends on whether or not he originated the role with the Prequel Trilogy. Whoever else was chosen to play Palpatine could’ve continued playing him or John Noble, now seen on Fringe, could’ve done the part. That man can do twisted, calculating nemesis. Look no further than his role as Walternate in Fringe or Denethor in Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
Chewbacca: If that character made his debut in Episode III and Peter Mayhew played him then hopefully he would still play the Wookie in the later films. It’s hard to imagine someone else doing the part, maybe Brad Garrett? He is pretty tall, but he wouldn’t have any lines so who knows if he would’ve accepted. Perhaps Chewbacca would be played by some unknown actor. Then again Chewbacca and the Wookies may not have appeared in Episode III, meaning that he would be a CG creation. In that case only Andy Serkis or Doug Jones would be able to project their acting ability through the mo-cap process.
Wicket: Lucas probably would have the Ewoks rendered in CG and made them into a completely different race. Maybe a more formidable and believable a force to defeat the Empire’s stormtroopers. Otherwise Warwick Davis would play Wicket as he did in real life.
Yoda, C-3P0, and R2-D2: They would’ve been played by the performers who originally played them. Meaning Frank Oz, Anthony Daniels, and Kenny Baker, respectively. That’s because since all three characters appeared in the early films and in real life were performed in the ’70s and ’80s by these three men then logically they would continue doing the roles. One thing to note is that Yoda would have been a lot less active in the prequels due to f/x limitations. Hence, no crowd-pleasing lightsaber duels in the prequels. But Yoda may have survived long enough in the final film to confront Palpatine with a spectacular duel as he did in the final scenes of Episode III.
As for Jabba the Hutt, Admiral Ackbar, and Nien Numb, well they most likely would be CG creations instead of puppets or actors in heavy makeup. It would be interesting to see how they would’ve appeared in that case.
And just to goof around, let’s have Patrick Stewart bridge the worlds of Star Trek and Star Wars and make a cameo appearance in Episode V as Lando’s aide Lobot!