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Star Wars: 8 Actors Who Almost Played Anakin Skywalker

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Hayden Christensen Anakin Skywalker Star Wars Lucasfilm

In 1977, cinema fans were astonished by an extraordinary new adventure in a galaxy far, far away. Star Wars birthed a new generation of nerd culture spanning all ages, races, and genders. Prolific characters like Leia Organa, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Darth Vader captivated audiences with one film. As fans bought lightsabers to pretend to be Luke, one character stood out because of how terrifying he was, both in physical presence and when he spoke.

Darth Vader reigned among some of the scariest villains in movies for decades. With his death grip and red lightsaber, this villain clearly had an epic backstory. While James Earl Jones voiced the villain, Lucasfilm’s announcement to tell Darth Vader’s backstory in a prequel trilogy signalled that fans needed more than a recognizable voice. In Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, audiences would meet a young Anakin Skywalker who was thought to be The Chosen One. In the following two episodes, Attack of the Clones

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and Revenge of the Sith, a teenage and young adult Anakin would need to be cast. Hayden Christensen’s performance as Anakin — complex and tortured — ultimately proved why he won the role, but with a Hollywood franchise as big as Star Wars, the race was definitely on. Many young actors were up for the role of Anakin. Indeed, here are eight who were almost cast as the Skywalker patriarch.

Ryan Phillippe made his mark in iconic films like Cruel Intentions and I Know What You Did Last Summer. Even though the former film was the actor’s breakout performance, it was his role as Sebastian Valmont that revealed his uncanny ability to play a sinister person. Of course, sometimes an actor’s versatility isn’t enough. And even though Phillippe’s star was rising at the time of Attack of the Clones‘s casting, according to MTV, Lucasfilm wanted someone younger slightly younger for the role of Anakin.

Related: Star Wars: Actors Almost Cast as Luke Skywalker

Just like his famous father, Colin Hanks is quite the talented actor. His breakout role was in the late-90s as Alex Whitman on the TV series Roswell. The series follows three human-alien hybrids meant to save their species. Considering the sci-fi elements of this show, Hanks would have been a near-perfect casting. In fact, We Got This Covered reports that “Hanks was attached to the role very early on in development”. Even though playing Anakin didn’t work out for Hanks, he remained successful across TV and film as both an actor and director.

The late Paul Walker was another contender for the coveted role of Anakin Skywalker. Even though Walker was a Fast and Furious fan favorite, he had quite the TV career before playing Brian O’Conner. He was a serious regular on the soap opera The Young and The Restless. At the time that Lucasfilm was casting Anakin, rumors had circulated that Walker was in major contention, but it ultimately fell through. Despite this, of course, Walker went on to start in the Fast and Furious franchise for seven films before his tragic death.

Another 90s heartthrob, James Van Der Beek was rumored to be in line for Anakin Skywalker. In an interview with Express, he revealed, “When I was a kid, my dream role would’ve been Anakin Skywalker”. However, Van Der Beek was already attached to another prolific role: Dawson Leery on Dawson’s Creek. After five years of the popular teen drama, Van Der Beek appeared in various TV shows like One Tree Hill and as himself in Ke$ha‘s music video for “Blow.”

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