Though Carrie Fisher will always be beloved and remembered for her Princess Leia, the Star Wars actress came surprisingly close to landing yet another iconic role of the late '70s.
Vanity Fair has revealed that while casting the role of Sandy Olsson, Grease's good-girl-turned-bad, first-time director Randal Kleiser thought to drop a line to his old college roommate George Lucas. Lucas was in the midst of production on A New Hope, and Kleiser was offered the opportunity to view some of the film's rushes to judge whether its breakout female lead, Carrie Fisher, could be a potential fit for the retro musical.
Unfortunately, A New Hope severely lacked in musical numbers for Princess Leia (we'd have to wait until the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special for that); and so, unable to judge her singing or dancing talent, Kleiser moved on to other casting possibilities.
Marie Osmond was at one point approached, though she declined the role over fears Sandy's final act transformation would tarnish her rosy, girl-next-door image. The part eventually went to Olivia Newton-John; the then little-known 29-year-old Australian singer had recently made her film debut in 1970's Toomorrow, though it took some convincing to get Newton-John to put her burgeoning singing career on hold after Toomorrow bombed at the box office.
Another near-casting saw Happy Days' Henry Winkler up for the role of Danny Zuko. Though Paramount were keen, Winkler turned it down, as there surely must be a limit to the amount of time one person can spend in a leather jacket. A 23-year-old John Travolta was eventually cast in the role, having previously played one of the T-Birds in a traveling company version of Grease's original stage show.