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Jodie Foster says she turned down Princess Leia role in ‘Star Wars’ because of Disney contract

Foster did not reveal what Disney movie she was locked into, but the timeline suggests it might’ve been “Freaky Friday,” which was released a year before “Star Wars.”
Jodie Foster on NBC's "TODAY Show" on Jan. 17, 2024.
Jodie Foster on NBC's "TODAY" show on Wednesday.Nathan Congleton / TODAY
/ Source: Variety

Jodie Foster has shocked the “Star Wars” fandom by confirming she was offered the role of Princess Leia, which unquestionably would’ve changed the course of her career.

The two-time Oscar winner told Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show” that she was already locked into a contract for a Disney movie at the time and didn’t want to break it in order to join a galaxy far, far away. Foster did not reveal what Disney movie, but the timeline suggests it might’ve been “Freaky Friday,” which was released a year before “Star Wars.”

“You’ve been in so many iconic roles, and we love what you do,” Fallon said during the show. “But I saw this on the internet — you were offered the role of Princess Leia in ‘Star Wars,’ is that true?”

“I was, yeah,” Foster replied. “They were going for a younger Princess Leia but I had a conflict. I was doing a Disney movie and I just didn’t want to pull out of the Disney movie because I was already under contract.”

The role of Princess Leia ultimately went to Carrie Fisher, who was 19 years old during filming. Casting Foster in the iconic role would’ve also changed “Star Wars,” as she was only 13 or 14 years old when George Lucas’ original “Star Wars” was filming. Foster was 15 years old when the movie opened in theaters and became a cultural phenomenon.

“And they did an amazing job,” Foster said of Fisher. “I don’t know how good I would have been. I might have had different hair. I might have gone with a pineapple.”

Fisher would reprise Princess Leia in four additional “Star Wars” movies: “Empire Strikes Back,” “Return of the Jedi,” “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi.” She passed away before she was able to film her scenes on “The Rise of Skywalker,” but unreleased footage from “The Last Jedi” set was used to include Leia in the film.

"The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" airs on NBC, which is owned by NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News.

Foster has been making the press rounds in support of two new projects. She’s an Oscar contender for her supporting turn in the Netflix swimming drama “Nyad,” in which she stars opposite Annette Bening, and she’s also headlining the fourth season of HBO’s “True Detective.”