Rey has now been at the centre of the Star Wars galaxy since The Force Awakens back in 2015, and has earned her place as one of the franchise’s icons. The role has made actress Daisy Ridley a household name and Hollywood A-lister, and no doubt changed her life.
So, it must have been excruciatingly disappointing for up-and-coming actress Jessica Henwick, who has detailed how close she came to the part of Rey, before being given a role in The Force Awakens as pilot Jess Pava.
“Oh my God, dude. That was fucking six months. That was a long one. I was auditioning for a different character, actually, so I spent six months auditioning for that character. And then, at the end, J.J. said, ‘I want you to be in the film, but I want to write a character for you.’ That’s how Jess Pava was created.
So, it was a very, very long experience. 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.”
A six month audition process sounds rather grueling indeed, and would no doubt have gotten her hopes up more and more that this life-changing role was going to be hers. This would of course have included several callbacks, each one dangling the promise of Star Wars in front of her. At least she was given the role of Jess Pava, small role though it is, and before you start to feel too bad for her, Henwick has the likes of Godzilla vs. Kong and The Matrix 4 on her schedule, so, she is going to be just fine.
One cannot help but wonder though whether Henwick’s casting as Rey would have changed the character’s lineage, as it did all seem rather tacked on in the way it is revealed in Rise of Skywalker, and does it perhaps suggests that this was a last minute addition afterall and never was part of Abram’s plan.
The history of Star Wars is rife with almost-castings, including Leonardo DiCaprio and Christian Bale being favourites for Anakin Skywalker in the prequel trilogy, and Christopher Walken and Kurt Russel being offered the parts of Han Solo and Luke Skywalker respectively. With her natural screen presence and penchant for action and martial arts, Henwick would have no doubt nailed the role of Rey, but alas it was not meant to be and Daisy Ridley has now made the character her own.
Jessica Henwick can currently be seen dodging drowning and mysterious monsters alongside Kristen Stewart in the dramatic action horror, Underwater. This comes to us from Cinemablend.