22. Will Smith as Mace Windu
When Samuel L. Jackson signed on to take the role of Jedi Master Mace Windu in the prequel trilogy, he was easily one of the most well-known commodities the new trilogy had on hand. By 1999, Jackson had already delivered performances in Coming to America, Goodfellas, Menace II Society, Jurassic Park, School Daze, Do the Right Thing, Jungle Fever, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, and so many more.
For as powerful and varied as his delivery can be, you’re getting Samuel L. Jackson if you cast Samuel L. Jackson. We got Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu, and it was absolutely perfect, but it was still definitely Samuel L. Jackson in the end. Choosing another name to fill that spot is difficult, but another prolific Black actor could provide a different kind of performance.
While his filmography might not be quite as extensive as Samuel L. Jackson’s (and whose is, really?), another great pick to take on Mace Windu would be none other than Will Smith. While his career really got rolling with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and eventually Men in Black, his dramatic film roles went on to earn him Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness.
Will Smith would definitely deliver a different Mace Windu than Samuel L. Jackson, but it would be intriguing to see how he’d deliver a performance as the Jedi Master in a recast of Star Wars.