Tom Holland Was So Close To Playing Star Wars’ Biggest Disappointment

Tom Holland auditioned for Finn in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

By Lyndon Nicholas | Updated

Tom Holland almost played Finn

Although we may think of Hollywood actors as prolific, the reality is that most actors audition much more than viewers realize and face rejection at an alarming rate. Because of this, some of the what-ifs behind some of Hollywood’s biggest hits, like Titanic and The Office, are entertaining to hear, with big-name stars auditioning for what would become classic roles associated with others. According to a BackStage interview with Marvel’s Spider-Man actor Tom Holland, he was part of one such incident when he auditioned for what would end up being John Boyega’s Finn in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

When asked whether he had any audition horror stories that he could share, Tom Holland revealed that he had actually had a disastrous audition for a role in another Disney property: Star Wars

“I remember my audition for ‘Star Wars,’ I was like four or five auditions in, and I think I was auditioning for John Boyega’s role. I remember doing this scene with this lady, bless her, and she was just a drone. So I was doing all of this, like, ‘We gotta get back to the ship!’ And she was going, ‘Bleep, bloop bloop, bleep bloop.’ I just couldn’t stop laughing. I found it so funny. And I felt really bad because she was trying really hard to be a convincing android or drone or whatever they’re called. Yeah, I obviously didn’t get the part. That wasn’t my best moment.”

This may come as a shock to readers, as the similarities between Holland and eventual Finn actor John Boyega are few and far between. Still, both actors have a certain charming quality to them and the ability to deliver witty one-liners to great effect. During the interview, Tom Holland fielded a number of other questions, including his number one piece of audition advice, who his acting mentor was, and tips for pushing through rejection as an actor.

star wars finn rey
Daisy Ridley and John Boyega as Rey and Finn.

Tom Holland began his career at a young age as a dancer and as a part of the cast of Billy Elliot the Musical before transitioning to the screen in his debut film, The Impossible. It was Holland’s show-stealing role in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War that brought the star international recognition. He’s since portrayed the superhero in multiple films in the MCU and became the youngest actor to play a title role in the Spider-Man-centered film Spider-Man: Homecoming in 2017, which was followed up by Spider-Man: Far From Home in 2019, and Spider-Man: No Way Home in 2021. 

Outside of the MCU, Tom Holland has made a name for himself in dark dramas like 2020’s The Devil All the Time and 2021’s Cherry while also bolstering more lighthearted films like 2020’s Onward and 2022’s Uncharted. He is fast becoming a leader in Hollywood’s next generation of young actors. 

Although John Boyega’s performance as Finn was not bad by any means, it did disappoint a number of fans. Initially positioned as one of the lead characters in the 2015 film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Boyega’s character had an active role in the main action of the film and was even hinted at being force-sensitive. After the first film, Boyega’s character really was never allowed room to flourish in 2017’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi and 2019’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Finn was largely relegated to the sidelines of the action, with the series focusing more on developing characters who were part of the Skywalker lineage, like Daisy Ridley’s Rey and Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren. In many ways, this muddled the message that the series seemed to set out for in the first episode of the sequel trilogy, which alluded to a more inclusive, less bloodline-based idea of Jedi potential, counter to what had been previously established by the Mydichlorian count in the Star Wars prequel trilogy of the ’90s and early 2000s. Finn represents wasted potential, a character who could have represented a step forward for the franchise, which instead chose to take a number of steps backward and back into tried-and-true tropes and story arcs, even bringing back Sith Lord Emperor Palpatine, although somewhat inexplicably. 

It is fun to imagine what Tom Holland’s Finn could have been like and how the actor’s portrayal might have been different from Boyega’s. As seen in his roles in the Spiderman movies and Uncharted, Holland is able to bring a youthful energy to his action roles. Since Disney owns both franchises, it is always possible that fans could see Holland popping up somewhere in the Star Wars universe in the future.