Hollywood Icon Says She Almost Became a Younger Princess Leia in ‘Star Wars’

in Star Wars

Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) in a white gown and hood in 'A New Hope'

Credit: Lucasfilm

It turns out Star Wars‘ Princess Leia was almost very different from the one we had (and she may not have even had the iconic cinnamon buns-style hairdo!).

Hollywood star Jodie Foster has starred in many classics throughout her 52-year career. Bugsy Malone (1976), The Silence of the Lambs (1990), and Panic Room (2002), to name a few. However, while promoting her new series, True Detective: Night Country (2024), on the latest episode of The Tonight Show, the Academy Award-winning actress told host Jimmy Fallon how she had almost become one of the most iconic characters in film (in addition to the cannibal-fearing Detective Clarice Starling, of course).

When Fallon asked Foster whether the story about her almost playing Princess Leia was true, she revealed that she was indeed offered the part in Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (1977), the first film in the original trilogy, saying:

“I was, 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.”

Check out the interview from The Tonight Show below:

Though Foster didn’t reveal the Disney film in question, it’s obviously Freaky Friday (1976), which came out the year before George Lucas’ original trilogy-opener and is the only Disney film on her acting resume at that time. Foster, now 61, was 15 when she almost took the part, so her version of Leia would have been a few years younger than Carrie Fisher’s, who’s 19 in the first film.

Naturally, viewers took to X (formerly Twitter) to express their shock at Foster’s revelation. “WOW! I never knew this,” one fan wrote. 

WOW! I never knew this. 

Though clearly a fan, @Rinanloo is grateful Foster never took the role, saying:

Thank the stars it didn’t happen. We love you Jodie.

@ssn1947 says there would have been “backlash” had a young Jodie Foster donned the iconic golden bikini Carrie Fisher wears in Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi (1983):

Imagine the backlash seeing a 14 year old jodie foster in the golden bikini

Carrie Fisher went on to play Princess Leia in four more Skywalker Saga films that spanned 40 years: all three films in the original trilogy and the first two films in the sequel trilogy (she also features in the bizarre 1978 holiday special, which many would rather forget exists).

Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in 'The Star Wars Holiday Special'
Credit: Lucasfilm

Fisher sadly passed away at age 60 in 2016. But despite appearing in all three entries in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, she died before filming on Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019) started, and appears through repurposed unused footage from the first film in the trilogy, Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens (2015).

Leia has become one of the most iconic characters in film, while Fisher remains one of the most celebrated actors to have starred in the long-running franchise.

“They did an amazing job,” Foster said, giving her thoughts on Fisher’s performance in the films, before commenting on Leia’s iconic hairstyles, “I don’t know how good I would have been. I might have had different hair. I might have gone with a pineapple.”

Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: ‘Star Wars’ May Finally Recast Han, Luke, and Leia Next Year Amid Calls for a Reboot

Carrie Fisher will forever remain synonymous with Princess Leia. However, other actors have already portrayed the character outside the films: Julie Dolan voices Leia in the animated series Star Wars: Rebels (2014 — 2018); Norwegian actress Ingvild Deila acts as a stand-in for Leia in the anthology film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) while Fisher’s likeness is superimposed over the actress’ face using Deepfake technology; and Vivien Lyra Blair plays a ten-year-old version in the Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi (2022).

It remains to be seen whether the adult version of Leia will ever return to the live-action side of the faraway galaxy. She could eventually appear in the Mando-Verse shows which are set during the New Republic era, or in one of the many upcoming films. She may even show up in the upcoming open-world game Star Wars Outlaws (2024), which takes place between Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi.

But perhaps Jodie Foster could still play a version of Leia, as there are rumors of a Star Wars What If…? series being in the works. We’re not sure about the pineapple hairstyle, though.

Jodie Foster is currently starring in HBO’s True Detective: Night Country.

Do you think Jodie Foster would have made a good Princess Leia? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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