Charlie Hunnam Reveals He Was Almost Anakin Skywalker in 'Star Wars' (Exclusive)

The actor recalls his first meeting with 'Star Wars' creator George Lucas and shares details on his latest project, 'Rebel Moon.'

It's hard to imagine Star Wars' Anakin Skywalker as anyone other than Hayden Christensen, but according to Charlie Hunnam, he almost wielded the lightsaber of the franchise's iconic character.

Speaking with ET's Ash Crossan ahead of the premiere of his upcoming film, Rebel Moon, Hunnam confirmed the long-standing rumor that he had auditioned for the role of Anakin and almost landed the part after a one-on-one with director George Lucas. Stars like Leonardo DiCaprioRyan Phillippe and Paul Walker had also been in contention before Lucas decided to go with the relatively unknown Canadian actor to kick off Darth Vader's origin story.

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

Of what he could remember, Hunnam mostly recalled being nervous, a sentiment that the actor assumed Lucas understood. "And I just remember it being a very awkward meeting and walking out and thinking, 'Well, I'm definitely not [getting the] role.' And I was correct," he quipped. "Sometimes it's about the vibes."


In January of 2000, DiCaprio revealed to ET that he had taken a meeting with Lucas at Skywalker Ranch in Marin County, California, where the filmmaker's special effects houses are located, as well as the home base for all things Star Wars (he reportedly later turned down the role). In addition to Phillippe and Walker, Devon Sawa was also high up in the mix. At the time, Sawa was coming off a successful transition from a child actor (Now and ThenCasper) to tackling young adult roles (Wild AmericaFinal Destination).

"There were five of us going for it, and then they ended up going with Hayden Christensen from Vancouver, and he did a great job, but, you know, I was heartbroken," Sawa explained to ET in 2020. He added, "I want to say I came close." 

Christensen spoke with ET in 2000 for his first on-camera interview after nabbing the role, and the young actor could barely contain his excitement about taking his first step into a larger world. 

"I can't wait. It'll be so cool to see yourself podracing and using the Force," the then-19-year-old actor shared just days after learning he was set to join Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor in the prequel trilogy. "It's insanity. I grew up on this stuff." 

"I'm trying to get in shape and buff up a little bit. I'm gonna start taking boa classes, which is a stick fighting course," he explained to ET, appropriately standing in front of a Star Wars mural on the 20th Century Fox studio backlot. "And then I leave for Australia at the beginning of June. I'm very lucky and I couldn't be happier right now."

Lightspeed to 2022, and Christensen and McGregor made their onscreen return to the galaxy far, far away for Disney+'s Obi-Wan Kenobi. Picking up a decade after the events of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, the limited series follows Obi Wan Kenobi in hiding as he tries to protect the secret existence of Luke Skywalker. 

"We couldn't tell the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi without addressing Anakin or Vader," director and executive producer Deborah Chow said of Christensen reprising the role.

"The most beautiful thing of all is that it's brought me back together with Hayden," McGregor previously said of his former co-star. "[Having] another swing at each other might be satisfying for everybody. We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoy making it."  

The next year, Christensen returned to the franchise for the second time as Anakin faced off against Rosario Dawson's Ahsoka Tano in Ahsoka, proving that the franchise's stars can always come back if the story allows.

As for Hunnam, while he hasn't been able to join the Star Wars universe, he is happy to introduce fans to the universe of Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire. The Zack Snyder-directed space opera film takes place in a universe controlled by the corrupt government of the Motherworld, the moon of Veldt is threatened by the forces of the Imperium, the army of the Motherworld controlled by Regent Balisarius. Kora, a former member of the Imperium who seeks redemption for her past in the leadership of the oppressive government, tasks herself to recruit warriors from across the galaxy to make a stand against the Motherworld's forces before they return to the planet.

Hunnam stars alongside a packed ensemble cast that includes Sofia Boutella, Michiel Huisman, Djimon Hounsou, Doona Bae, Ray Fisher, Cleopatra Coleman, Jena Malone, Fra Fee, Ed Skrein and Anthony Hopkins.

"The prospect of playing in [Snyder's] world is really, really fun," Hunnam said of joining the cast as Kai, a mercenary and starship pilot hired by Kora. "And we all got to read the script, and it was clear, just the level of detail and the amount of love that was in the script that, you know, before we even had an opportunity to talk to Zack, it was clear that this was just this burning passion project. And that's what you look for in a filmmaker: you want somebody that A, knows exactly what they want to do and B, actually cares."

When it comes to his character, Hunnam shared that the key to his portrayal was to "get out of Kai's way." 

"For the first time in my career, I felt like a possession. It felt like I didn't really do anything," he admitted. "And I think I just knew that Kai knew what he wanted to do. And I said, 'I'm not going to get in your way, dude. You do you, and I'll try not to get fired.'"

Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire drops in theaters on Dec. 15, before making its streaming debut on Netflix Dec. 21. A sequel, Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver, is set to be released on April 19, 2024.


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