‘Star Wars’ Had Christopher Walken And Jodie Foster Read For Two Of Its Most Important Roles

One of the highlights of Dune: Part Two is seeing Christopher Walken’s take on the role of Shaddam IV, the film’s ferocious Emperor. It’s his first acting role in four years, and came about because of his admiration for the first film in the series.

But it’s not the first time Walken has tried for a big budget sci-fi film. In the mid-1970s, he read for the first Star Wars, but not for the Darth Vader role you’d expect. Instead, he was up for the Han Solo part, which eventually put Harrison Ford on the map.

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In an interview with Vanity Fair, Walken recalled the moment. “Yes, I auditioned for it. And if I’m not mistaken, my partner in the audition was — I think this is true — it was Jodie Foster (who was reading for Princess Leia). I think we did a screen test. I’m not sure we did a scene. Maybe we just sat in front of, in those days, those old videotape cameras … I did audition for Star Wars, but so did about 500 other actors. It was lots of people doing that.”

Foster has previously spoken about her audition, but Walken’s try-out is new information. He would have brought a different vibe to the Han Solo role, as he does with the Dune: Part Two Shaddam IV portrayal.

“There is something about getting older that you’re sort of not inclined to get out of your pajamas,” he tells Vanity Fair about Dune. “He maybe doesn’t take a shower as often as he should. There’s a little bit of ‘the hell with it’ at a certain point.”

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