‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’: Daisy Ridley Almost Did Not Get the Part of Rey—Here are 5 Other Actresses Considered for the Role

Could you imagine the last three Star Wars films without Daisy Ridley as Rey? Now that the sequel trilogy is complete, it seems impossible that someone else could have played our heroine. However, director J. J. Abrams considered at least five other actresses for the role before choosing Ridley.

Daisy Ridley
Daisy Ridley | David Parry/PA Images via Getty Images

Jessica Henwick auditioned for six months for the role of Rey in ‘The Force Awakens’

Abrams decided after six months of watching Marvel’s Iron Fist star, Henwick, audition for Rey that he felt she was better suited for Jess Pava. 

“So, it was a very, very long experience,” Henwick told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s hard because I’ve been doing this long enough to know that you go in, audition, put it to the back of your mind, don’t think about it, and don’t get emotionally invested. But, after six months, you can’t help but just desperately want it. I’m also such a big J.J. fan. So, I was a mess at the end of those six months.”

Since that audition, Henwick went on to star in Underwater, Godzilla vs. Kong, and Monster Problems. She was recently cast in the intensely secretive Matrix 4 with Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss.

‘Little Women’ actress Saoirse Ronan auditioned for the part of Rey as well

Irish actress Saoirse Ronan was distraught that she did not get the role of Rey because she wanted to hold a lightsaber.

“I don’t have Star Wars. I don’t have the role,” she sadly told Indie Wire in 2013. “To pretend that you have a lightsaber in a scene is always very exciting. It would be great. But it’s something that everyone’s gone up for.”

Since her Star Wars audition, Ronan starred in numerous films, including The Grand Budapest Hotel, Brooklyn, Lady Bird, and Little Women. Hopefully, she no longer has a reason to be upset.

Abrams wanted Elizabeth Olsen to audition, but the star turned him down

Olsen was already under contract with Marvel Studios for the role of Scarlet Witch in Avengers: Age of Ultron. The shooting schedules of the two movies clashed so much that there was no way Olsen could take on both parts. 

She might be kicking herself right now, looking back on the decision to choose the Marvel franchise over Star Wars. However, she did go on to also star in Captain America: Civil War (2016), Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019).

Jennifer Lawrence was on Abrams list of potentials for the part of Rey

Although she was on the shortlist, Abrams did not audition Lawrence because he wanted to find a fresh new face for the role. The casting for the main characters in The Force Awakens was mostly unknown stars. 

Could you imagine Katniss Everdeen playing the role of Rey? We couldn’t either. She currently still holds the title of highest-grossing action heroine of all time for her role in The Hunger Games films, according to Time.

Shailene Woodley also auditioned for the part of Rey in ‘The Force Awakens’

Shailene Woodley was starring in the ABC Family drama series The Secret Life of the American Teenager as Amy Juergens when she auditioned for the part of Rey. 

She went on to star in The Fault in Our Stars and The Divergent Series. None of her filmographies to date come close to what her role in the Star Wars movies might have been.

She is well-known for her role in the HBO series Big Little Lies. Not much is known about her audition for Rey or what her chances were at starring in the film.

The Star Wars sequel trilogy might have looked entirely different if any of these five stars were Rey instead of Daisy Ridley.