Image a world where Leonardo DiCaprio not only has an Oscar, but he has an Oscar and also played Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars prequels. At one point, that was almost a thing — the Star Wars part, sadly not the Oscar part. (We’re always rooting for you, Leo!)
Back in the early 2000s, when Star Wars creator George Lucas was getting ready to cast the role of adult Anakin Skywalker in Attack of the Clones (little Anakin “Ani” Skywalker was played by 10-year old Jake Lloyd in The Phantom Menace), he had his eyes set on DiCaprio. DiCaprio even visited Star Wars home base, Skywalker Ranch, in California to meet with Lucas, and it sounds like it wasn’t just introductory talks. They were real talks about DiCaprio picking up the blue lightsaber and eventually turning to the Dark Side.
Later, DiCaprio went on Entertainment Tonight (in 2000, to promote The Beach. Remember The Beach? That was 15 years ago) and admitted that the Anakin discussion had happened. However, when it came time for the actual casting, DiCaprio told The Short List that he “[wasn’t] ready for anything like that,” and he “just didn’t feel ready to take that dive. At that point.”
Back in 2000, remember — but, like you even need a Leo history refresher — he was still riding high off of Titanic, and we were still swooning over him as Romeo in Romeo + Juliet. Taking on the role as future Darth Vader would have been something completely different for him at the time, and still unlike anything he’s done up to this point. But instead, he passed on Star Wars, and starred in Gangs of New York and Catch Me If You Can.
OK, but keep on thinking of Leo as Anakin, and now picture him opposite Natalie Portman rolling around in the Naboo grass (Not a euphemism. They really rolled around in the grass). How much would that have changed the prequels? Would we be a little less critical of them, with Jedi Leo? In this alternate reality, could he have won an Oscar for playing Anakin Skywalker, or would it still be a nah, and would be still be really upset about it?
Sadly, these are questions that will never be answered. The grand idea of a Force-sensitive Leonardo DiCaprio will, however, live on forever in our minds (and hearts).
(Image via Shutterstock.)