What if Mace Windu, Jedi warrior who was Master of the Order, had been played by the late rapper Tupac Shakur instead of Samuel L. Jackson?
That bit of casting trivia has now come to light courtesy of an interview shared by 2Pac-Forum. The fan site was interviewing Death Row Records' former Chief Engineer Rick Clifford, who collaborated with Tupac on records like All Eyez On Me. And when asked to share information about the late rapper his fans might know, Clifford dropped some knowledge about Shakur in the Star Wars universe, saying:
'Pac found out that I worked for Brian Austin Green. who was on 90210, then he found out I was in some movies. So we always talked about his film career and stuff. He was telling me that he was supposed to read for George Lucas and them. They wanted him to be a Jedi. Yes, I'm serious — Samuel L. got Tupac's part.
Listen for yourself right here:
That movie turned out to be Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, where Jackson stepped into the role of Windu and held it for the duration of the prequel trilogy.
He really would have been reading ahead of time for the part. Shakur died in Las Vegas on Sept. 13, 1996. The Phantom Menace didn’t come out until May 19, 1999. LucasFilm has not confirmed the story of Tupac’s interest in the Mace Windu role. But given the amount of audition uncertainty we continue to cover on J.J. Abrams’ ongoing Star Wars: Episode VII, is it any surprise that Lucas likely had multiple people reading for parts as he planned to bring the Star Wars universe back to life?
So Shakur was not meant to be a Jedi. That means his most memorable role continues to be (in my opinion) opposite Janet Jackson in John Singleton’s underrated Poetic Justice.
And we’ll continue to wait and see who fills the next generation of Jedi in Abrams’ first Star Wars. Casting news should arrive soon… right?