Though Star Wars: The Force Awakens is keeping busy by smashing Harry Potter and Avatar box office records while also landing the approval of both audiences and critics alike, things weren't always so breezy for life after Return of the Jedi. When The Phantom Menace dropped eons ago back in 1999, children and adults all over the world were plagued with nightmares about Jar Jar Binks and those weird Taco Bell cup toppers for decades (I still have those nightmares regularly).
Those podracing scenes were undeniably dope, but Star Wars scholars still ponder loudly the greatest question of our time. What would have made those prequels less easy to trash? The answer, of course, is staring intensely at you via a CBS screengrab above: Leonardo DiCaprio. In a fresh ShortList interview, the noted shark wrangler casually revealed that he actually met with George Lucas regarding the role of Anakin Skywalker but wasn't really feeling it:
Were you in talks to play Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars prequels?
I did have a meeting with George Lucas about that as well, yes.
Same scenario (laughs).
He wanted you, but you didn’t fancy it?
Um, right. Exactly.
Again, just didn’t feel ready to take that dive. At that point.
As for the "same scenario" DiCaprio mentions while apparently laughing, that's in reference to a previous remark about also being asked to step into Robin's shoes by Batman Forever director Joel Schumacher:
Did that include playing Robin in Batman Forever? There’s a rumour you screen-tested for it...
I never screen-tested. I had a meeting with Joel Schumacher. It was just one meeting and, no, I didn’t end up doing it.
Did you actually want the role?
Er, I don’t think I did, no (laughs). As I recall I took the meeting, but didn’t want to play the role. Joel Schumacher is a very talented director but I don’t think I was ready for anything like that.
Do you feel like you dodged a bullet?
Of course, DiCaprio is doing just fine without those films in his increasingly stacked canon. You can currently find him battling bears and an unquenchable desire for revenge in Alejandro González Iñárritu's family-friendly romp The Revenant.