When most movie and TV fans nowadays think of Jon Favreau, there are two franchises that immediately jump to mind — Star Wars and Marvel. The talented actor/director/producer is the creator of the immensely popular The Mandalorian series on Disney+, and has made a name for himself as Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey, Jr.) driver and best friend in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
But, long before he was the arguable co-leader — alongside Mandalorian executive producer Dave Filoni, of course — of the Star Wars universe, it seems that Favreau almost starred in another overwhelmingly popular franchise that also took pop culture by storm.
Yes, Jon Favreau nearly starred in Friends.
…producers Marta Kauffman, David Crane, and Kevin Bright revealed that they thought Chandler would be the easiest part to cast because the character had the most jokes, was sarcastic, and flippant. And yet, no one could nail the part…The actor who was initially offered the role of Chandler was Jon Favreau. But Favreau turned “Friends” down because he wanted to work on other projects. By other projects, he probably meant 1996’s “Swingers,” which he wrote and starred in, per IMDb. “Swingers” put Favreau on the map, but in 1994, he was pretty much an unknown, albeit an unknown with a great script.
The role of Chandler, of course, was ultimately given to Matthew Perry. The rest of the Friends core cast included Ross (David Schwimmer), Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), Monica (Courteney Cox), Joey (Matt LeBlanc), and Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow). The cast went on to work together for all 10 seasons of the sitcom.
As for Favreau, he’s gone on to have an illustrious career with The Walt Disney Company’s various brands. In addition to his work in the Star Wars franchise and the MCU, Favreau produced The Lion King (2019) and the live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book (2016).
He is currently working on The Jungle Book 2, which has an unknown release date, and is rumored to be reprising his role as Happy Hogan in the upcoming Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) alongside Tom Holland’s Spider-Man/Peter Parker.
As if that wasn’t enough, Favreau and Filoni are continuing to grow their ever-expanding corner of the Star Wars galaxy. The duo currently has three shows in development — The Mandalorian Season 3, Ahsoka, and The Book of Boba Fett.
A fourth streaming series, Rangers of the New Republic, is “no longer in active development” following actress Gina Carano’s firing from the Star Wars franchise. Carano’s Cara Dune character was set to lead the show.
However, Mandalorian leading man Pedro Pascal (Din Djarin) is set to make his return in The Mandalorian Season 3, potentially alongside Katee Sackhoff (Bo-Katan Kryze) and Giancarlo Esposito (Moff Gideon), though this remains unconfirmed.
As for Ahsoka, Rosario Dawson will reprise her role from The Mandalorian Season 2, starring as Ahsoka Tano.
Finally, The Book of Boba Fett is, according to Favreau himself, The Mandalorian‘s “next chapter”. Star Wars fans can expect to see Temeura Morrison as the iconic bounty hunter and Ming-Na Wen as ex-mercenary Fennec Shand on Disney+ in December 2021.
We do not yet know where Grogu or Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker (CGI Mark Hamill in The Mandalorian Season 2 finale episode) will appear next.
How do you think Favreau’s career would have changed if he had starred in Friends? Would he have still created The Mandalorian?