Star Wars is and always will be one of the most successful movie franchises of all time. It has dominated toys, comics, video games, novels, and so many more. It’s grown beyond the movies to become a pop culture institution. Everyone knows the characters, even people who don’t like or sometimes have never even seen the movies themselves. Star Wars is something people love and it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing these iconic roles.
Considering that Star Wars is now over forty years old, it would be interesting to imagine what the entire saga would look like if cast today. It’s true that this franchise is still going strong under the Disney banner and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon, but it’s something worth considering. If everything from A New Hope to The Phantom Menace to The Force Awakens were recast right now, what would that look like?
These are the fun questions that fans of any franchise from Star Wars to Marvel have been having for decades. It’s a natural thing. People see qualities in actors that they recognize in their favorite characters and it’s fun to imagine how those actors could bring new life into so many classic, iconic characters.
Here are the 25 Star Wars Fan Casting Better Than What We Got.
25 Tilda Swinton as Emperor Palpatine
Tilda Swinton could easily embody the calculated, ruthless and manipulative evil of Palpatine. From the character’s time as a Chancellor to becoming Emperor, there are so many facets and different periods of the villain’s life that have been seen on screen. Swinton could easily pull any of them off.
She has that sense of authority that’s key to this character and also has experience with old age makeup, which would come in handy for the older Emperor.
While Swinton can be cruel and calculating on screen, she can also embrace the illusive kindness of Palpatine’s role as mentor to the younger Anakin Skywalker.
24 Letitia Wright as Rey
Daisy Ridley does a fantastic job as Rey, it’s hard to dispute that. She brings a grace and determination to the role, especially as the character has developed over the course of two movies. However, Letitia Wright could also bring many of those same qualities to the character, while embodying the wide-eyed awe and wit of the young Luke Skywalker of the first movie at the same time.
She would also solve the problem of every single Star Wars movie having a brunette, white, and usually British heroine. Wright regularly stole the screen in Black Panther among an all-star cast and could easily do the same in Star Wars.
23 Bill Skarsgård as Bib Fortuna
Bib Fortuna is not by any stretch a widely known or beloved Star Wars character, but people recognize him when they see him. The character only has a few minutes of screen time in Return of the Jedi as the assistant/slave of Jabba the Hutt.
As a creepy, almost vampiric character with a long tentacle coming from its head, Bib Fortuna is a nightmare image. An actor of Skarsgård’s talent, someone who has shown an incredible ability to play creepy, especially with his turn as Pennywise in It, would have no problem pulling this weird and intense character off.
22 Idris Elba as Darth Vader
This would primarily be a voice role, like James Earl Jones, though one could definitely see Elba filling the suit as well.
It would be interesting to see the movie take that direction, and to see a high profile actor like Elba doing a role that would completely hide his face.
In the age of Deadpool and Ryan Reynolds portraying that character in full costume. Elba’s grace and physicality are perfect for the part, but he absolutely has the deep and powerful voice that Darth Vader needs in order to be as commanding and powerful as he is.
21 Joaquin Phoenix as DJ The Thief
Benecio Del Toro is a great actor, but he is almost bizarrely out of place in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. He’s distracting, he takes the viewer out of the movie to an extent. Even if his character is supposed to be offbeat and quirky, that’s a little too far of a direction to go in.
However, Joaquin Phoenix was actually up for the role as well and would have been a much better fit for the part. He could be layered, mysterious, intense, while still bringing the unpredictability and strangeness that led to Del Toro getting cast.
20 Richard Jenkins as Obi-Wan Kenobi
Richard Jenkins is a terrific actor who has experienced such a career renaissance in recent years, from Cabin in the Woods to The Shape of Water. He would be a perfect choice for the older Obi-Wan who mentors young Luke Skywalker in the original trilogy.
He would bring a sharp wit, dry sense of humor but at the same time could convey the world-weary old man who has been in this fight — and lost it — before. Those are key elements of Kenobi that could be embodied by Jenkins in a different way than how the character had been portrayed by Alec Guinness originally.
19 Olivia Cooke as Padmé Amidala
Olivia Cooke is one of the best up-and-coming actresses working today. Obviously, Natalie Portman turned out to be a fantastic actress as well, and had already proven herself before Phantom Menace with her performance in León: The Professional.
Cooke has experience with this kind of big budget filmmaking, with Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, and could bring an indie spirit to it at the same time. This would be crucial for Padmé, as she undergoes a lot of trauma and tragedy, but maintains a fierce determination, all of which Cooke would be perfect for.
18 Helen Mirren as Mon Mothma
Mon Mothma originally appeared in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, laying the seeds for what would become the Rebellion. She appears again in Rogue One, once again as a high ranking commanding officer, a tactician with a warm heart, laying out plans for stopping the Death Star before it’s too late.
At the time, it seemed like no one really knew how big the character would become or how important to the franchise she would be.
With that knowledge, it would be excellent to see an actor of Mirren’s caliber in the role.
17 Timothee Chalamet as Anakin Skywalker
On paper, Anakin Skywalker is an incredibly tragic character. For many fans, the characterization of the prequel trilogy was not quite up to par with the depth of tragedy that leads to Anakin’s becoming Darth Vader, nor was Hayden Christiansen’s performance.
It’s a layered, even Shakespearian role that should be given to a terrific rising actor. Timothee Chalamet would nail every single aspect, from the youthful spirit, to the pride, romanticism and heartache that all plant the seeds to his eventual turn to the dark side. He could easily have given fans the truly heartbreaking version of that story that they didn’t get to see the first time.
16 Dylan O’Brien as Wedge Antilles
Wedge needs to be a likable guy that someone would want to have in their corner. He’s, essentially, Luke’s wing man and it would be fun to see that friendship explored in a little more detail before both of them wind up joining up with the Rebellion.
Dylan O’Brien played the quintessential best friend role for years in his reimagining of Stiles on Teen Wolf and could bring some of that same flair to Wedge. Even if the character wasn’t expanded upon, Wedge is someone the audience needs to care about in just a few minutes of screen time and O’Brien could pull that off.
15 Lakeith Stanfield as Boba Fett
Boba Fett is hard to cast because there’s so much of the character that just comes from general pop culture knowledge rather than what was portrayed on the screen.
Fett is supposed to be the most effortless, cool, mysterious man in the entire galaxy. Lakeith Stanfield absolutely embodies all of those qualities.
However, the thing that would make him truly perfect for Boba Fett is that, like the bounty hunter, he can make the biggest impression out of minimal screen time, as seen in both Get Out and Netflix’s Death Note.
14 Hugh Dancy as Qui-Gon Jinn
Hugh Dancy is one of the most underrated actors working today. He has an authority and dignity that could easily be brought to Qui-Gon.
Dancy gave a terrific performance on NBC’s Hannibal as Will Graham, and there he wound up as an inadvertent mentor to someone who turned out to be a powerful villain, something that also applies to the Jedi who discovers the young Anakin Skywalker and begs the Jedi Council to take him on despite their initial concerns. Dancy could sell so much of the thoughtfulness and determination of the character.
13 Jacob Tremblay as Young Anakin Skywalker
The Phantom Menace introduced fans to the beginnings of the story of Darth Vader, and many were completely underwhelmed by the movie when it came out. Jake Lloyd was a light too innocent, a little too light and bouncy as the child lead of the film. There was nothing of the boy who would grow up to be either a great Jedi nor a powerful villain.
Tremblay has been proving himself as a terrific child actor since Room. He could still be innocent, still be the endearing child that fans were introduced to, but embody all of those hardships that Anakin had to endure as a kid that would define the person he would become.
12 Alan Tudyk as Jar Jar Binks
Jar Jar Binks is, for most people, the black mark on the entire Star Wars franchise, even now. The character was a bridge too far when it came to throwing in characters simply for the sake of slapstick comedy to appeal to kids and was also widely noted as being racially insensitive.
Alan Tudyk has a great history of making characters like this work, bringing the humanity and sensitivity as well as the humor.
He’s already played a role in the Star Wars universe as K2-SO in Rogue One but if there’s anyone who could take this much hated character and put a positive spin on it, it’s Tudyk.
11 Hugh Jackman as Galen Erso
Mads Mikkelsen was great as Galen Erso in Rogue One, but having been primarily known for playing villains it was jarring to see him as the sympathetic man who was ultimately responsible for both the creation of the Death Star as well as its destruction.
However, Hugh Jackman could have provided a very different incarnation of that character, with the quiet softness of the father and the rage and betrayal of the man forced to design a super weapon that could be used to wipe out millions of lives in the galaxy. It would be interesting to see Jackman, especially now that he’s left franchises behind, take on a character like this.
10 Sofia Boutella as Darth Maul
Sofia Boutella is an absolutely intense actress. She can not only hold her own against some of the industry’s most high caliber stars, but she is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to action sequences as well, something she’s been proving ever since her memorable role in Kingsman: The Secret Service. Boutella was also the best part of last year’s The Mummy.
In that, as well as Star Trek Beyond, she showed an ability to work well under heavy makeup roles. Obviously, all of those qualities would be perfect for Darth Maul, one of the high points of the prequel trilogy.
9 Tatiana Maslany as Jyn Erso
One of the things that got lost in the shuffle during Rogue One’s extensive reshoots is that it was initially planned to be a sort of spy movie. The whole movie is about a heist to steal the Death Star plans from the Empire to deliver them to the Rebels, kicking off the events of the original movie.
Maslany could have brought a whole other, deeper level to Jyn Erso with that in mind, as her many roles on Orphan Black saw her playing several clones with wildly different personalities. Her range as an actor could have been used to shift Rogue One into the deeper spy thriller it was originally intended to be.
8 Michael B. Jordan as Finn
In this case, it’s not specifically an issue of one actor being better than the other, as John Boyega is also great as Finn. However, Michael B. Jordan could highlight several aspects of that character in a different way. He’s great at playing characters with a chip on their shoulder, who feel betrayed by the world, usually for circumstances they can’t control.
Having been handed over to the Empire as a child and having his name stripped away, Finn certainly fits the bill. Even if he wouldn’t be a necessarily more villainous portrayal of Finn, he would definitely be a little more intense.
7 Ezra Miller as Kylo Ren
One of the key details about Kylo Ren is that he is not Darth Vader, and he does not appear to be someone who can be redeemed. The best moment in The Last Jedi is when Rey fights side-by-side with him, thinks she has gotten through to him, and realizes that she actually hasn’t.
Ezra Miller can bring the emotional vulnerability needed to make Kylo Ren appear to be someone who could be saved.
However, he has also proven in We Need to Talk About Kevin that he can portray the depths of evil that actually exist within that vulnerable character and would make Kylo Ren feel like a genuine threat.
6 Sterling K. Brown as Lando Calrissian
Billy Dee Williams nailed the fact that Lando Calrissian is the coolest guy in the galaxy, as did Donald Glover when he played the younger version of the character in Solo. However, as the leader of Cloud City, Lando also needs to have some political skill and diplomacy that fans never really got to see from Williams’ performance in The Empire Strikes Back.
Sterling K. Brown would absolutely nail those aspects of the character. He could be diplomatic, he could be cool, he could be determined, all of the things that make Lando who he is.
5 Lily Collins as Princess Leia
Rising to fame in starring roles in things like Mirror, Mirror and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Lily Collins has truly started garnering critical acclaim in recent years in films like Okja and will even star as Fantine in the upcoming BBC production of Les Miserables.
She has the wit necessary to pull off a young Leia, as well as the stone cold will and determination. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that she genuinely looks the part as well. While there’s no topping Carrie Fisher, it would be interesting to see what Collins could bring to the character.
4 Derek Mears as Chewbacca
Chewbacca can’t simply be a guy in a suit. It requires someone with that kind of skill, yes, but this is also a main character in the franchise and part of the core ensemble. Even if the audience doesn’t understand what Chewie is saying, Han does, and that banter between the two of them is key.
Derek Mears has a long history of acting in monster roles, from Jason in the Friday the 13th reboot to a Predator in Predators, not to mention starring in the upcoming Swamp Thing series, but he is also a skilled comedian with an Improv group in Los Angeles. He could bring both of those elements to truly convey a perfect Chewie.
3 Nathan Fillion as Han Solo
Based off the success of Firefly, many were simply assuming Fillion would be cast as Solo at some point. Had Solo: A Star Wars Story not revolved around a younger version, Fillion would have been perfect. Now, though, he could portray the character at an age a little bit closer to how old Han had been in the original trilogy.
Between Firefly and Serenity, Fillion already has years of experience playing a character extremely similar to Han. He embodies that cockiness, that swagger, but also that occasionally comedic buffoonery that’s also key for any depiction of the hero.
2 Daniel Kaluuya as Mace Windu
Mace Windu isn’t just cool, which is something that was an inevitable part of the character from the moment Samuel L. Jackson was cast - he’s also a high standing member of the Jedi Council and needs to act like it.
Windu is someone who can stand back and let others dominate the room, but be able to give a thoughtful and powerful response that makes everyone around him stop and listen to what he’s saying.
Jackson only rarely got to portray the fierce intelligence of the character in the prequel trilogy, but Daniel Kaluuya could nail that confidence and thoughtfulness.
1 Freddie Highmore as Luke Skywalker
Freddie Highmore has everything one would think of when casting a young Luke Skywalker. He’s young, seems kind of innocent despite the fact that he portrayed Norman Bates for four years on television. However, that dark performance and the lengths his acting was stretched to in that role would also come in handy for Luke.
Throughout the entirety of Return of the Jedi, one needs to believe that Luke turning to the dark side could actually happen, that it’s a genuine threat. The whole movie hinges on whether or not the audience thinks it’s possible. Highmore could absolutely pull that off, as well as the heroism and likability that define who Luke is.
What do you think? Who did you want to see in Star Wars? Let us know in the comments!