When the first spin-off of the Star Wars universe hits the screen in December, Felicity Jones will be at the head of the team tasked with stealing the plans for the Death Star. Star Wars: Rogue One will be the first film in the franchise not lead by a character named Skywalker. The part is a pretty big deal, and it could have very easily gone to Rooney Mara instead, but it seems the part just found the actress at the wrong time.
The Academy Award nominee was interviewed by Deadline and asked about the report that she was in contention for the role now known as Lyra Erso. It turns out she was never really considered for the role as all she did was take a meeting on the project.
I met with the director (Gareth Edwards) and I really liked him but then I didn’t end up reading for it. I was working, and it wasn’t the right thing for me, so I decided not to read for it. I was on a film. I was working six day weeks and it was just, like, it wasn’t going to be possible.
Rooney Mara says that who the director is, is a big part of whether or not she takes a role, so the fact that she liked Gareth Edwards was a point in favor of Star Wars: Rogue One. Unfortunately, it appears that Mara was either overwhelmed with whatever project she was working on, or that scheduling just wasn't going to work out, so she decided to not even audition for the part, since she knew she wouldn’t be taking it.
In the end, that was probably the right move. While many movies are willing to shift their schedules around to meet the needs of actors that they want, it’s not likely that Star Wars: Rogue One would have been able to do that for Rooney Mara, even if they’d wanted to. While we know that Star Wars: Episode VIII has seen a major delay in production, that comes after the box office shattering success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Any changes to Rogue One would have been announced before the franchise got back on its feet and probably would have been very concerning for fans.
Rooney Mara doesn't seem particularly disappointed that she had to forgo the role. Many actors are either very interested in joining major franchises, while others want to be as far away from them as possible. Mara, for her part, doesn’t seem to take any of that into account. Would you have liked to see her join the Star Wars universe?