The actresses who almost played Princess Leia


Whilst it is difficult to imagine anyone else but the late Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia (who was only 19 when she first shot Star Wars) she wasn’t the first in line and at least 10 other actresses were in shortlisted with some even auditioning for the role. We take a look at those who almost appeared as Princess Leia….


First up and perhaps most improbably was Meryl Streep who at the time was known for her theatre work and at the time of Star Wars filming was making her feature film debut on the 1977 film ‘Julia’ a WWII set film directed by Fred Zinneman with Vanessa Redgrave in the title role and went onto win 3 Oscars. Streep would have been 26 years old at the time of the sci-fi blockbuster being filmed and was rumoured to have been asked to play the role in ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ after Fisher had passed away before filming began

Jodie Foster was also in the running. In many ways she was an obvious candidate having been acting since she was 7 years old and had worked twice with Scorsese most memorably in ‘Taxi Driver’ shot in the same year as Star Wars. She was hugely in demand and though she would have been 14 years old at the time of shooting her schedule meant that she was unlikely to have been able to take the role if she had accepted it.

Having been Oscar nominated for her lead role in, ironically, ‘Carrie, actress Sissy Spacek did in fact get the chance to read for the role at the same time as she read for Carrie because George Lucas and Brian dePalma were holding simultaneous auditions for tier respective films. Spacek though was more interested in the title role of Carrie and so for her Princess Leia was never to be

Anjelica Huston was the daughter of director John Huston and would have been 25 years old at the time of filming but in the end tough she was considered she did not audition for the role

Having made a name for herself a model Kim Basinger would begin her acting career in 1976 and if she had landed the role would have been her acting debut. As it was she would appear in a string of TV films before she would begin her big screen appearances in the early 1980’s

Sigourney Weaver was 27 years old at the time of Star Wars filming and her strong woman persona was ideally suited for the role of the head strong Princess Leia but it was not to be and instead she would debut in a minor role in Woody Allen’s Oscar winning ‘Annie Hall’

Another model turned actress was Geena Davis and like Kim Basinger fitted Lucas criteria for an unknown actress to play the role. But instead she continued her education before moving to New York in 1977, the year of Star Wars release, to begin her drama training and acting career although even then it would be 1982 before she landed her first big screen role in the Dustin Hoffman film, ‘Tootsie’.

Jane Seymour had made an impact as a Bond girl Solitaire in Live and Let Die and did get to audition for the role. But after not getting it she landed a role in ‘Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger’ that opened the same year as Star Wars and remains one of stop motion master Ray Harryhausen’s best loved films

Perhaps less well known is Lalla Ward who having appeared in a number of British TV shows and Hammer films would be considered but despite her not getting the role she went on to appear in another sci-fi favourite Doctor Who in the Tom Baker era who she would later marry and soon divorce before later marrying God bothering denier Richard Hawkins

Finally the late actress Cindy Williams auditioned for Lucas having appeared in his early 1970s film ‘American Graffiti’ but not getting the role as Lucas decided not to cast anyone that had appeared in his previous films. In fairness her appearance in the 50’s set Amercian Graffiti would secure her work in the successful TV series Happy Days and later Laverne & Shirley

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