You Cast ‘Star Wars: Heir to the Empire’ Round Nine: Leia Organa Solo


Timothy Zahn’s Star Wars: Heir to the Empire was a blockbuster and boundary breaker: It broke out of the fan underground and onto the New York Times Bestseller list, broke down the boundaries between film and written word, proving succinctly that a story is never truly over as long as someone wants to hear more, and broke through the known limits of the Star Wars universe, exploring places that the original trilogy never did. Would we have had an Expanded Universe without Heir to the Empire? Probably not.

Heir to the Empire picks up five years after Return of the Jedi. The galaxy is struggling to heal the wounds of war after the defeat of Darth Vader and the Emperor. Princess Leia and Han Solo are married and expecting twins and Luke Skywalker is now the first in a long awaited new line of Jedi Knights.

But thousands of light-years away the last of the Emperor’s warlords-the brilliant and deadly Grand Admiral Thrawn-has taken command of the shattered Imperial fleet. He’s ready it for war and aimed it right at the heart of the fragile new republic.

Fans would love to see an Heir to the Empire movie, and we would too! To celebrate the 20th anniversary edition of Heir to the Empire, we’re going to indulge in a little game of what-if, and we’d like for you to play along. We thought it would be fun to try to cast each of the book’s major roles, and after a little email brainstorming, we came up with a list of likely candidates to portray the key characters. We’d like our readers to help narrow them down and cast the movie.

We’ll list a character each weekday and the five actors we think are right for the part. You simply vote for the actor you want to see win the role. Don’t like our choices? Cast a write-in vote using the embedded poll software!

Note, we had said we’ll be posting the winners on September 20th, but that’s now changing to September 22nd to give the last characters time to be voted on. All polls will close at 11:59 pm EST on Wednesday, September 21.

Oh, and we should mention that since it’s been decades since Return of the Jedi was filmed we’ll need to recast all of the characters, so we’ll be asking you to cast new actors in some of the saga’s most iconic roles. Controversial? Maybe. Fun to discuss? You bet!

Today’s character is Leia Organa Solo.


Leia Organa Solo: Born Leia Amidala Skywalker, Princess Leia Organa grew into a fearless Rebellion leader, equally comfortable in a command position or on the front lines of battle. After the founding of the New Republic, Leia married her smuggler Han Solo and began her own study of the Jedi arts.

Here are five actors we think might make a good Leia Organa Solo. Click the links to view their IMDB profiles, and then vote for your choice:

Anne Hathaway
Olivia Wilde
Maggie Gyllenhaal
Anna Paquin
Hayley Atwell



Click here to vote for round ten: Luke Skywalker!

  • Darth Verous

    Maggie Gyllenhaal definately looks like a younger Carrie Fisher.

  • Kel

    Leia has to look OLDER. The book took place AFTER Jedi.

  • Teleidoplex

    I was surprised not to see Ellen Page on this list. She’s as tiny as Carrie Fisher was, but she has great presence and can hold her own with classic snark delivery. Everyone on this list is just pretty-but-vapid. None of the inner-steel of Leia.

  • Space Girl

    @Teleidoplex- I like the Ellen Page idea. I was even thinking Carey Mulligan if she dyed her hair, she’s a pretty good actress. Hayley Atwell is ok, I haven’t seen her in enough films to judge though.

  • echo 138

    I second that on Carey Mulligan. She’d probably be a good Leia.

  • Peter

    She might be too tall, but I think Odette Yustman would be a good choice!

  • Moo

    How about Isla Fisher? She’s a whole lot of feisty in a small package.

  • Damon

    Abbie Cornish, from Sucker Punch, would make a great Princess Leia.

  • Alan

    @Kel. Leia is supposed to be in her early 20s in Heir to the Empire. So, she wouldn’t need to look any older than these actresses. In truth, some of the actresses are a tad too old for Leia in Heir.

    Even though Olivia Wilde is 27ish now, I would want her. She is great and I think I could look past the age difference to see her play the role. (They would just need to get someone who looks about the same age to play Luke, obviously)

  • JediKR

    OK, this is like the third poll where all the choices were TOO TALL! Please, can we do some fact checking?

    @Alan: Heir takes place 9 years after A New Hope, which would make Leia 28 (19 at the time of ANH)

    I had to go with other suggestions, and write in Ellen Page; she’s a little young, but the only one close to the right hieght (Leia is only 1.5M, or ~5′), and I agree she has the chops to pull the role off.

  • Sihaya

    Katee Sackhoff with a dye job. Right height, great in both earnest moments and snarky ones, dazzling when happy and heartbreaking when sad. Plus she knows her way around an action sequence.

  • Sihaya

    Oh, and I think Sackhoff has the right voice for the princess, too. I could imagine her speaking the lines in the book.

  • George

    A pretty predictible list. People will probably scoff, but I’m writing in Mila Kunis. Despite some questionable career choices, I think she’s an underrated actress with a lot of spunk.

  • Ben

    Tina Fey! She would make a great Leia!

  • Gabe

    Kiera knightly makes way too much sense. I’d cast her as Jaina as an adult too.

  • Gabe

    Kiera knightly makes way too much sense.

  • hanimal

    So, just like with my vote for Mara – I don’t like Maggie Gyllenhal too much as an actress, but I think she really channels a slightly older Carrie Fisher. Plus, Leia is pregnant in this book, so we wouldn’t have to see Maggie in a gold bikini….She would NOT pull that off.

  • Corellianrogue

    She’s 40 so she’s probably too old now but if she still looks like she can pass for 30 then Sabrina Lloyd would be PERFECT for Leia as she looks just like Carrie Fisher! Here’s a pic of her from 6 years ago:

  • LeiaForChiefOfState

    Olivia Wilde is far too hot to not vote for. Hot girl wins.

  • jbroce

    my vote is for Rachel McAdams or Kristen Bell…

  • jeff s

    Sabrina Lloyd

  • calvin

    Maggie Gyllenhaal

  • Ebonyte

    I can see a lot of great potential actors, but more than anything, I’d cast someone who ISN’T George Lucas to direct it.

  • albert orkenbjorken

    apparently all of you are blind.. none of these people look like leia.. if anyone should be leia it should be sarah lane (formerly from attack of the show/screen savers) on g4…. shes tough, nerdy smart and looks the part

  • Adam Ahmed

    Absolutely must be Ellen Page. Looks very similar to how Carrie Fisher did in the original trilogy, great eyes, exactly the same height, strong, intelligent, snarky. She’s perfect.

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