There are several indisputable facts in this world: the sky is blue, fire is hot, and everyone loves Michael Fassbender. Admit it. You’ve seen more of his movies than you can actually remember. Even when he’s in a bad movie (cough*X-Men: Apocalypse*cough), Fassbender is still the shining beacon of light hiding in the depths of a dismal coal mine.
So, it’s hard to imagine how a popular actor like Michael Fassbender would take an already great movie… and make it better. But that almost happened.
While doing rounds of interviews for his upcoming Assassin’s Creed movie, Fassbender ended up on the Happy Sad Confused podcast. During the course of the interview, Michael dropped a bombshell: he talked about the time he spoke with J.J. Abrams and was almost cast in The Force Awakens.
“We talked about a role. We had a conversation. I’m pretty sure I was busy doing something else in the summer he was kickstarting that.”
What? Forget his spots in 300, Inglorious Bastards, Steve Jobs, Prometheus and any X-Men movie; a role in The Force Awakens would have probably become a highlight of Fassbender’s already stacked IMDB page. Sure, he’s already tackled some illustrious roles (garnering two Oscar nominations), but a spot in a galaxy far, far away could have put him over the top, and made him the pinnacle actor working in Hollywood today.
Still, forget about where Fassbender’s career would be following a Star Wars stint. Instead, let’s look at some retroactive casting. While the current roster in The Force Awakens is stacked — and everyone played their role perfectly — it’s always great to take a “what if” approach. Like, what if Michael Fassbender accepted one of the following four roles.
1. Poe Dameron
Now, it’s hard to go against Oscar Isaac in this role (the man was oozing charisma). Still, you must remember that prior to The Force Awakens casting announcement, Isaac was not even close to being a household name. Slap Fassbender in the role of the the resistance’s best pilot and you’re getting a completely different Poe. Instead of the cocky, self-assured Issac version, the character would be grittier and more aggressive. Plus, once Starkiller Base officially drained the sun of its power, we’d have the opportunity to watch Fassbender look at the blotted-out sun and say, “Then we shall fight in the shade“. Nothing like movie synergy.
Not every role has to be a major role. Fassbender offered zero context to the role he and Abrams talked about. What if it just happened to be a short cameo? Remember that Stormtrooper that gets completely owned while being mind-controlled by Rey? That was none other than James Bond himself, Daniel Craig. It wouldn’t be surprising if Fassbender was offered a similar cameo-style role as a random Stormtrooper (something Tom Hardy is rumored to be doing in Episode VIII… so keep your eyes open!).
3. Kylo Ren
I mean… it’s possible, right? Adam Driver fell into the same position Oscar Issac was in: he wasn’t that well known. Disney/Lucasfilm may have wanted a more established actor for the role, so enter Michael Fassbender. You can easily see him falling behind the mask and wielding a crossguard lightsaber. It becomes more unlikely when you realize that Driver was Abrams’ first choice for the role. Still, it would be interesting to see what Fassbender might look like with that mane of black hair.
4. General Hux
Sometimes, you have to save the best for last. While Domhnall Gleeson was a solid Hux, thinking about what Fassbender could have done with that role should make you salivate. Hux didn’t get a lot of screen time, but that could have changed if someone like Fassbender took over the role. Instead of being a side note, First Order character, Hux could have garnered more screen time, and turned into this generation’s Grand Moff Tarkin. The exchanges between Ren and a Fassbender-ified Hux alone would be worth the cost of admission. Plus, Michael Fassbender would wear the hell out of that First Order suit.
Alas, in the end there was no Fassbender in The Force Awakens, and all we were left with was one of the best Star Wars films and one of the highest grossing movies of all time.
It’s also funny to think that Fassbender’s Assassin’s Creed will probably get dominated at the box office by Rogue One‘s week two. Perhaps seeing the Star Wars franchise’s continuing success will open Fassbender’s eyes to what he could have been a part of. Then, in the future, perhaps we’ll see a lightsaber-wielding Fassbender!