All the Young Stars Who Almost Played Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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While Daisy Ridley was a pretty successful actress before Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens rolled around, her career absolutely BLEW UP after she nabbed the role of Rey in the film franchise.

“I had heard about the role quite a while before I auditioned, and I emailed my agent that I have this really weird feeling; I really feel like I need to audition,” the 24-year-old told The Hollywood Reporter. “Then, months went by and the same people were reading for it. But I still really had this feeling of needing to read for it, so I emailed my agent again for an audition. I had four or five auditions over seven months, and it was a very emotional time. My first few auditions really didn’t feel good, but my last audition suddenly felt like something clicked. You’re so desperate to get a role, but I felt like even if I didn’t get it, I did a good job, I’d done myself proud.”

Um, she sure did — director J.J. Abrams announced that Daisy would portray Rey in Episode VII in December 2014, and the rest is history. As the British beauty was going through the grueling audition process, however, many other young Hollywood stars were also doing the same.

1. Jennifer Lawrence — Everyone knows that J.Law was one of the actors who hilariously ~auditioned~ for Star Wars during a Saturday Night Live skit, but what they may not realize is that the film’s director actually wanted her to play Rey for real! IMDB reports that the 26-year-old star was one of the big-name actresses considered for Daisy Ridley’s part before the director decided to go with a lesser-known celeb.

2. Shailene Woodley — This Divergent star is another well-known actress who was considered for Rey before J.J. Abrams chose to look for young celebrities who weren’t as well known. Not much is known about her desire to go in for the audition, but we can only assume she would’ve absolutely KILLED it.

3. Elizabeth Olsen — Seeing as Mary-Kate and Ashley‘s little sister is a self-proclaimed Star Wars superfan (“I remember when they re-released it, that was the most exciting thing in the world to me,” she said in the past), we’re actually kinda surprised that she turned down a chance to audition for The Force Awakens. According to IMDB, the 28-year-old declined J.J. Abrams’ audition request because she was already contracted to play the Scarlet Witch in Marvel’s Avengers and the Star Wars filming dates overlapped with Avengers: Age of Ultron. Bummer!!

4. Saoirse Ronan — While we now know a lot about what went into finding the perfect Star Wars Episode VII cast, information was once SUPER sealed. Back in 2013, actress Saoirse Ronan accidentally let a few details slip on The Empire Film podcast. She said, “Yeah, I did [audition for Star Wars: The Force Awakens]…I don’t know whether I should have said that now! I mean, everyone did. Everyone has auditioned for it. So many people I know have gone in for the part I’ve gone in for, and guys who’ve gone in for a particular part, so I’d imagine J.J. [Abrams] is probably just scanning the earth to find the people that he needs…But nobody has a clue what it’s about, and nobody’s read the script. So I’ve gone in and read for it, but I have to say, I think it’s the only time I’ve ever thought, ‘You know what? Even if I don’t get it, I had so much fun auditioning, pretending to take out a lightsaber — out of a bag, kind of inspect it and not know what it is. That was… that was great. A lightsaber! Star Wars!”

5. Jessica Henwick — This 24-year-old actress played Jess Testor in Episode VII, but she actually auditioned for Daisy Ridley’s role first. “[Rey] was the role I originally auditioned for and so I got really far with that and I found out a lot about the character,” she said at Florida Supercon 2016.

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12 young actors who were also considered for roles in Star Wars: The Force Awakens:


Ansel Elgort

There's always a way to turn bad news into a good thing. And for Ansel Elgort, getting rejected from the new Star Wars was pretty much a blessing in disguise.

"I think they told me, 'No, you're not in it,' which is fine," the TFiOS actor told MTV News. "The thing is...I like to watch Star Wars a lot. And I don't enjoy movies as much if I'm in them. So, luckily, hopefully, I won't be in it so I can still enjoy!” Now that is positivity, Ansel! Let's see if he feels the same way after going to see the final product...

Photo: WENN

Zac Efron

While this Hollywood hunk always rocks our world, he will not being doing the same in a galaxy far, far away. When 5News asked him about the status of his audition on the Neighbors red carpet, he replied, "I don't know. I have no idea on that. There's irons in the fire, so to speak. I don't like to talk about anything too early because, you know, it takes a while to get these things done right. Who knows?" Unfortunately, the long process didn't work out in his favor, but there are always more movies!

Photo: WENN

Josh Hutcherson

Our friends at Clevver TV reported that Josh was in consideration for playing a younger version of Luke Skywalker last year, and while our dreams were crushed when the true plot for Episode VII was released and a younger Luke was not needed, we're crossing our fingers that a prequel could be in his future!

Photo: WENN

Michael B. Jordan

With hits like Chronicle and the critically-acclaimed Fruitvale Station under his belt, Michael was ready to move onto the biggest sequel of all time. "I mean, everybody's going in on this project. They're trying to figure out what they want. That's another incredible franchise," the Fantastic Four star told Huffington Post back in 2013, "It's pretty crazy...We'll see how it happens. I don't know how I can do everything." But, it looks like he didn't need to clear his schedule for it after all. Maybe next time, Michael!

Photo: WENN

Alex Pettyfer

Ansel & Josh aren't the only YA stars who are totally overwhelmed by the idea of being in their favorite childhood movie. While it was said that he auditioned for the new movie, the I Am Number Four star's only comment when asked about appearing in the film by Coming Soon was, "If I was a part of Star Wars, I don't know if I would speak on set. I'm more of a fanboy." While we don't question his love of the droid-filled franchise, we do wonder if that response was just a coping method. It's okay, Alex!

Photo: WENN

Beau Mirchoff

Rejection can be hard. And it can be even harder when you just don't hear back from the dream role you auditioned for! Well, unfortunately, that's exactly what happened for this Awkward star. When asked if he was going to be in the new film at the MTV Movie Awards, Beau told MTV News, "I hope so! I haven't heard anything about it." Ouch! Hopefully someone told him before he saw the official cast notice. #awkward

Photo: WENN

Benedict Cumberbatch

Did you watch the new Star Wars trailer and think you saw the Sherlock star? Well, you didn't. Sorry! But he even confirmed it himself in an interview with the Radio Times: "I am not the voice of the Star Wars trailer, nor am I the hooded character with the rather cool new lightsaber." And what about the rest of the movie? His response was simply, "No." Major bummer!

Photo: WENN

Michael Fassbender

Despite it being unknown as to whether or not this X-Men star went out for Star Wars: Episode VII, his name has been attached to the franchise for a possible spin-off role in the form of Boba Fett. However, he's not currently listed on IMDB to be appearing in any of the upcoming films from the franchise. Maybe it's too soon to tell? We really hope so!

Photo: WENN

Chiwetel Ejiofor

Just like every other Star Wars fan who also happens to be an actor, this 12 Years A Slave star was said to have gone out for a role in the highly-anticipated film. But, just like some of the others, he seemed to have been left hanging by production as well. "Who knows? We'll just have to see. I don't know is really the only answer I can give you," he shared with Yahoo! after receiving his Golden Globe nomination, "I'm a huge fan of the [Star Wars] world and J.J. [Abrams], but I don't know. I can't tell you."

Photo: WENN

Jack O'Connell

After finding Academy-level fame in Angelina Jolie's film Unbroken this past year, Jack was ready to move on to one of the biggest franchises of all time — and the rumors were working in his favor! The website Bleeding Cool reported that the Skins star actually met with director J.J. Abrams and that their meeting led him to become "a real contender for a key role." Since then, the buzz has died down and a role has never been confirmed in his favor. It's okay, though. We don't see this 300: Rise of an Empire star's career going away anytime soon.

Photo: WENN

Hugo Weaving

While actor Adam Driver has been confirmed for the role of Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens, another actor whose rumors for a role popped up around the same time was this Lord of the Rings star. So, what happened to his chances? We guess it never panned out in his favor! Back when the casting process was still going on, the role he was said to have been up for was a commander of some sort. We wonder who ended up getting that role?

Photo: WENN

Sullivan Stapleton

The Latino Review reported that this 300: Rise of an Empire star was also up for a role in the coveted Star Wars sequel. However, no further confirmation from the actor himself or anyone related to the matter has been made. Would you have liked to see the Blindspot actor in the franchise?

Photo: WENN

Quiz: Which The Force Awakens Character Are You?

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