Meet The Alternate Star Wars Saga Cast, Part II

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!

José Soto

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Star Wars At Citi Field

Not so long time ago in city not so far away, there was a legendary place called Shea Stadium in New York. Rumor has it that the evil Empire destroyed it. The Rebel Alliance helped to rebuild it and called it Citi Field. On September 13th, 2011 the Galactic Empire and Rebel Alliance called a truce and joined forces to Stand Up to Cancer as they raised funds for cancer research. They also celebrated the September 16 North American release of the nine-disc Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Blu-ray, which contains deleted, extended and alternate scenes, new documentaries, interviews and more.

The New York Mets announced they were teaming up with Lucasfilm to host the first Star Wars Night at Citi Field when the Mets hosted the Washington Nationals. The evening started off with a costume contest for the young Padawans and creatures from throughout the galaxy. Celebrity judges included Darth Vader and his stormtroopers, Chewbacca, Boba Fett, a Tusken Raider and two Rebel pilots. Afterwards they all hung around for photo ops with eager fans.

As the characters left, we felt a disturbance in the Force, it guided us up to the second level where the characters reappeared for more photos with the fans. Between innings of the Mets-Nationals game, stormtroopers and Boba Fett appeared with three beautiful Earth women on the Kiss-cam. Many fans made a donation to Stand Up to Cancer and received a Use the Force for Good T-Shirt. Boba Fett captured a fan with a bounty on his head and then left with the other Star Wars characters to go onto the playing field and assist in the T-Shirt toss.

The Force then led us to the first base side of Citi Field where the Star Wars characters helped a Mets fan answer a Boba Fett-related trivia question. Darth Vader appeared on the Diamond Vision and threatened a Mets player, he then filled the screen with scenes from all six Star Wars movies.

The night was a success for both baseball and Star Wars fans, and helped raise money for a good cause.

 Article and Images by Jim McLernon with special thanks to Jennifer Drucker

Visit Jim McLernon’s website: http://www.leopardmanstudios.com/

Meet The Alternate Star Wars Saga Cast, Part I

While many are complaining about yet more changes to the Star Wars films with the new blu rays, everyone should consider that the saga has always been in a state of flux. This thought leads to a nagging question. What if George Lucas had filmed the saga chronologically? That is Episode I was the first Star Wars movie to be filmed back in the mid ’70s while Episode VI would’ve been released in 2005. Aside from the f/x and the storyline being different, so would the casting. This rings especially true in the last three films because it’s hard to imagine Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher portraying their iconic roles in middle age.

So with that thought let’s imagine who Lucas would’ve cast in the Prequel Trilogy, which would’ve spanned from the releases dates of 1977, 1980 and 1983. Note that there isn’t any way to predict with absolute certainty who Lucas would’ve cast or if his picks would’ve even accepted the roles. It’s easy to imagine that Lucas might’ve gone for an unknown actor or someone out of left field to play any of these roles. This isn’t a criticism of Lucas or the actors just pure speculation based on who auditioned for roles and was available at the time.

The Prequel Trilogy: Star Wars Episodes I-III

Qui-Gon Jinn: As the seasoned, wise and worldly Jedi Master, Nicol Williamson would’ve filled that role quite well. Just look at his performance as Merlin in Excalibur, the actor would’ve been perfect for Qui-Gon. One reason for this pick is that Lucas wanted to use primarily unknown performers but he did use seasoned, established actors in his films like Alec Guiness and Peter Cushing. If he decided to cast a star then an excellent choice for Qui-Gon would be Sean Connery. Despite his advancing years, Connery was still a tough, rugged leading man with many of the qualities needed for Qui-Gon.

Obi-Wan Kenobi: One of the main contenders for Han Solo was Perry King. In fact, he played Han in the Star Wars radio plays. So with his handsome good looks and acting chops, King would be a solid choice to play the heroic, noble Jedi who’s forced to fight his apprentice by Episode III. Plus he probably would’ve reprised Obi-Wan years later in Episode IV.

Padme Amidala: A difficult part to cast along with Anakin. The reason being that Lucas might’ve decided to have Anakin in the first film be an older character, which would throw off the entire casting process. If that happened then Carrie Fisher could perform her as she did with Princess Leia and that in turn means the actor to play Anakin in Episode I would have to be older . But if Lucas decided to have Padme younger then he would need to pick someone else like Terri Nunn, now known as the lead singer of Berlin. She was 16 at the time of casting and originally read for the role of Leia. Alternatives would include Rosanna Arquette, Melanie Griffith and even Eve Plumb. Seriously.

Anakin Skywalker: Kurt Russell was in the running for the role of Han Solo. He could’ve easily played a rash Anakin in Episodes II and III with his boyish good looks and hint of menace in his eyes. Just look at his portrayal of Snake Plissken. In Episode I, a young Anakin might’ve gone to some unknown child actor. Or Lucas could’ve picked Noah Hathaway who was about the same age as Jake Lloyd was when he was cast as Anakin. Or the filmmaker might’ve decided to introduce Anakin as a slightly older child, maybe even a teenager. This of course would probably mean that the actor chosen would continue to play the role in the sequels and thus no Kurt Russell. Choices include Ike Eisenmann, or Lance Kerwin.

Jar Jar Binks: Robin Williams would’ve been perfect for the role. Imagine a young, spirited Williams in his comedic prime running away with this role under heavy makeup. His performance might’ve been the one to catapult him into stardom rather than Mork from Ork. The character might’ve really caught on back then and had a larger roles in the sequels.

Mace Windu: Billy Dee Williams was considered for the role of Han Solo and as Mace, Williams would’ve added a heavy dose of charisma. This would’ve complemented the overall character of the Jedis and added to their regal nature. Heck, if you see him wearing his cape as Lando Calrissian, the guy looks like a Jedi of sorts.

Palpatine: Ian McDiarmid hopefully would’ve been cast back in ’76 and played the scheming politician and Sith Lord. The makeup might’ve been different in the final films given his age but nothing else would be different.

Nute Gunray: This was a largely forgettable villain but Peter Cushing would’ve added a chilling demeanor and turned him into a true menace. Albeit he would’ve played a human without makeup. However given his ill health by the early 80s his involvement in the next two films might’ve been limited.

Count Dooku: To portray this dashing, elegant and calculating fallen Jedi an actor needed to have all those qualities. Christopher Lee had it and so would Ricardo Montalban. Although would he then reprise his iconic role of Khan in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan a couple of years later? If not him, then Maximilian Schell would’ve been a viable alternative.

Jango Fett: Scott Glenn has that mean, ornery look of a mercenary and the character might’ve had more of a Western motif. Clues of this can be found in the original Attack of the Clones when Jango dispatches a hapless Jedi with a quick draw during the climatic arena battle. Plus, Glenn’s casting would mean that Boba’s role in the future films would’ve been more substantial.

Darth Maul: The role was limited requiring only someone with tremendous physical prowess. A young Jackie Chan , Chuck Norris or some other martial artist could’ve portrayed this acrobatic Sith apprentice.

General Grievous: Due to the limited CG technology in the early ’80s, the character would be presented as a more humanoid being, perhaps the actor’s face would’ve being visible. In any regard, Christopher Lloyd has shown in the past with Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, that he can make a convincing villain and would have done the same in Episode III.

Boss Nass: Brian Blessed would have played this role and be in makeup rather than some CG rendering as with Episode I.

José Soto

Coming Soon: Part II with the Original Trilogy Re-Cast!