Jodie Foster’s Alternate Universe: Almost Princess Leia

In a revelation that has left “Star Wars” fans pondering alternate realities, Jodie Foster disclosed she was almost cast as Princess Leia, a role that eventually went to Carrie Fisher. This surprising piece of trivia emerged during Foster’s appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” where she shared details about this near-casting in the iconic franchise.

A Conflict of Galactic Proportions

Foster, renowned for her roles in “Taxi Driver” and “Freaky Friday,” was offered the part of Princess Leia back in 1976. At the time, Foster was a rising star, already committed to several projects, including the Disney movie “Freaky Friday.” It was this contractual obligation that ultimately led her to turn down the role in George Lucas’s epic space opera. Foster humorously speculated on how her portrayal of Leia might have differed from Fisher’s, even down to her hairstyle, joking about swapping the famous cinnamon bun hairdo for a “pineapple” style.

The Impact of What Could Have Been

The idea of Foster as Leia presents an intriguing “what if” scenario for “Star Wars” enthusiasts. In 1976, Foster was only 13 or 14 years old, significantly younger than Mark Hamill, who played her on-screen brother, Luke Skywalker. This age difference could have drastically altered key plot points in the saga, including the sibling revelation in “Return of the Jedi” and the romantic dynamics with Harrison Ford’s Han Solo. Foster’s Leia might have resembled more of a spunky kid sister akin to Ahsoka Tano’s role in “The Clone Wars,” changing the very fabric of the “Star Wars” narrative.

Foster’s Flourishing Career Post-Decision

While the role of Leia went to Fisher, who became synonymous with the character, Foster’s career trajectory did not suffer from her decision. The success of her other film projects cemented her status as a major Hollywood star. Reflecting on the path not taken, Foster acknowledged the excellent job done by the “Star Wars” cast, expressing a sense of contentment with the roles she chose.

The Ripple Effects in the “Star Wars” Universe

Foster’s potential casting as Leia invites fans to reimagine the “Star Wars” universe. It underscores the impact casting decisions have on the direction and legacy of a film series. While Foster’s Leia remains a fascinating hypothetical, the success of the original trilogy suggests that things worked out for the best for both Foster and the “Star Wars” franchise.


Jodie Foster’s revelation about nearly playing Princess Leia offers a glimpse into an alternate “Star Wars” universe, one that fans can only dream about. It reminds us of the serendipitous nature of casting in Hollywood and how different choices could have led to a very different galaxy far, far away. As Foster and Fisher’s careers have shown, sometimes the roles actors turn down are as pivotal as the ones they accept, shaping not just their careers but the cultural landscape itself.