Michael B. Jordan could have been a central Star Wars character.
In a new interview, the Black Panther star opens up about how he might have landed the role of Finn in The Force Awakens only to suffer a horrible audition, due to Lucasfilm’s secrecy.
The audition process
One of the key issues with casting in Star Wars has been the veil of secrecy around the projects. Even more than the MCU, Star Wars writers and directors are tight-lipped on anything that can leak to fans.
That was especially true when J.J. Abrams (a man already used to secrecy on Lost and Star Trek) took on writing and directing duties for The Force Awakens. Abrams and Lucasfilm went to great lengths to keep anyone from learning any story hints, including the actors auditioning.
Speaking to Variety to promote his new Amazon Prime film Without Remorse, Jordan discussed how, in 2013, he was among those auditioning for the yet-untitled Episode VII.
At the time, Jordan hadn’t had his breakout role in Creed and was still considered enough of an unknown to work for the film. While he didn’t fully confirm it, it seems likely Jordan was trying for the role of Finn.
But as Jordan related, he faced a key issue in that the script he was given for the audition was so vague that he couldn’t connect to it.
“It’s probably my worst audition to date. I think it was I couldn’t wrap my brain around some of the sides because you know when you’re reading for these high-level projects, there’s never really any specificity in the sides. Everything’s like super vague; everything is in secret. Reading through, I just couldn’t connect it. I definitely bombed that one for sure.”
Jordan does have good company in failing to gain a Star Wars role. Tom Holland also tried out for The Force Awakens and said that his audition was pretty rough too.
Jordan’s words also echo the movie’s actual stars Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, both of whom had to handle an arduous audition process.
As the actors relate, the typical formula was to only be given their specific lines with no context as to what the scene was about or who their characters truly were. Throw in the usual Star Wars technobabble and alien phrases and the challenge is greater.
While this may seem extreme, it is common for movie studios to maintain a very tight lid on things given the Internet culture and the risk of spoilers leaking. With something as huge as Star Wars, the lid is locked down even tighter.
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Jordan has remained working on big blockbusters such as Black Panther, although he has demurred reports he might be up for the role of the “Black Superman” in Abrams and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ upcoming Man of Steel reboot.
Jordan did relate he’s still working on a big-screen movie of popular DC Comics hero Static Shock with a writer now attached.
As Jordan confirms, Star Wars secrecy is so huge that even trying out for a role can be more daunting than joining the CIA.
Without Remorse now streaming on Amazon Prime.