February 23, 2024

Charlie Hunnam revealed to Entertainment Tonight while promoting his new film “Rebel Moon” that he was heavily considered to play Anakin Skywalker in George Lucas’ “Star Wars” prequel trilogy. While child actor Jake Lloyd played Anakin in 1999’s “The Phantom Menace,” a time jump for 2002’s “Attack of the Clones” and 2005’s “Revenge of the Sith” required Lucas to cast an older actor as Anakin. Hayden Christiansen won the part, but Hunnam said he also met Lucas in person to discuss the role.

“I had forgotten that too, but yes, I did. I got to the point where I was meeting George Lucas, you know?” Hunnam said. “Which…I don’t think he meets a lot of actors. I think it was probably, maybe, two to three actors they were considering. I don’t remember much about it.”

“I just remember it being a very awkward meeting and walking out and thinking, ‘Well, I’m definitely not [getting the] role,’” Hunnam added. “And I was correct. Sometimes it’s about the vibes.”

Christiansen played Anakin to mixed reviews, but he’s been more widely embraced by “Star Wars” fans in recent years after reprising the character in Disney+ television series such as “Obi-Wan Kenobi” and “Ahsoka.” Both projects were made without the involvement of Lucas.

“I felt like I was cheating on him a little bit,” Christiansen recently told Entertainment Weekly about playing Anakin without Lucas by his side. “But it’s a different time for ‘Star Wars’ now, and I think it’s really exciting that we now have this period where there are other storytellers coming in and giving their take on the universe. But, of course, it all goes back to the maker, and George Lucas is very much in the front of everyone’s mind when we’re making a decision and we want to make stuff that he would be happy with for sure.”

Christiansen said he “would love to get to do more” projects as Anakin, adding: “I’d love to get to continue with ‘Star Wars’ and we’ll see. I don’t know what the future holds, and if such an opportunity presents itself, I’ll be there with a big smile on my face. And if it doesn’t, I feel really grateful for getting to come back and getting to do the work that I did in both ‘Obi-Wan’ and ‘Ahsoka.’”

As for Hunnam, “Star Wars” isn’t the only major studio franchise the actor got close to landing. He was offered the role of Christian Grey in the “Fifty Shades” franchise, but he turned it down because of a scheduling pile-up at the time. Hunnam was already leading FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” series and had lined up Guillermo del Toro’s “Crimson Peak” at the same time “Fifty Shades” was being offered.

“I just said, ‘I can’t, I can’t … ‘Fifty’s’ going to be massive, it’s going to be huge. I really didn’t want to fail on such a grand scale and I just couldn’t transition from Jax Teller to Christian Grey in 48 hours,” Hunnam said back in 2014. “I bit off more than I could chew and it was painful. I loved the character and I wanted to do it … It was one of those damned if you do, damned if you don’t situations.”

Hunnam now has a key supporting role in Netflix’s “Rebel Moon,” streaming Dec. 21.


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