All the Young Stars Who Almost Played Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
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.
12 young actors who were also considered for roles in Star Wars: The Force Awakens: