Seems like Lucas always had a chubby guy in mind for Jabba from the beginning. Maybe that has to do with the iconography of a mob boss at the time being Don Corleone in “The Godfather,” or maybe it had to do with Lucas wanting an intimidating figure to be putting the screws to Han Solo. Whatever the reason, Hootkins said he was offered the part when talking with Star Wars Insider in 1997.

Like many other “Star Wars” actors, Hootkins couldn’t make heads or tails of the script (lookin’ at you, Alec Guinness) and turned down the role of Jabba, opting to take another job. It wasn’t just that he didn’t understand the script, he predicted the movie would be “the biggest disaster in the history of filmmaking.” 

However, that didn’t stop him from coming back when his other job was done and “Star Wars” was still in need of X-Wing pilots and he became one of the most recognizable of the miscellaneous pilots supporting Luke in that final Death Star run. 

Putting on my conspiracy theory hat on, I wonder if Lucas intentionally gave the chubby X-Wing pilot the unfortunate name of Porkins and made him the first to die because Hootkins initially turned him down. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Anyway, Hootkins was a great actor who would later pop up as one of the government agents who recruits Indiana Jones to hunt down the Ark of Covenant in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and get shot by Jack Nicholson’s Joker in “Batman.” If he had accepted the part of Jabba the Hutt and that clunky scene worked better, “Star Wars” could have looked radically different.

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