At last linking the separate, yet equally sprawling sagas of Star Wars and Tupac Shakur apocrypha, the New York Daily News passes along the report that, shortly before his death, the slain rapper auditioned for the role of Mace Windu in Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace. Death Row engineer Rick Clifford made the surprising, as-yet-unconfirmed claim in an interview with the fan site 2Pac-Forum.com, prefacing it by saying he and Shakur had often discussed the rapper’s burgeoning film career—which already included roles in movies like Juice and Poetic Justice—after Shakur learned Clifford “worked for [90210’s] Brian Austin Green,” on Green’s sole hip-hop album, One Stop Carnival. And, if you accept the assertion that discovering Clifford had worked on a rap record with Brian Austin Green would inspire Tupac to identify Clifford as someone with whom he could discuss the cinema, you might then accept Clifford’s explanation of how Tupac almost found himself on the West Side of Yoda.
“He was telling me that he was supposed to read for George Lucas and them. They wanted him to be a Jedi,” Clifford said, possibly serious. “I'm serious,” he added. “Samuel L. [Jackson] got Tupac's part. [Tupac] said [to me], 'Old man, keep your fingers crossed.'” Unfortunately, no amount of finger-crossing could keep Tupac in the running—or alive, for that matter. And so, the world was denied possibly the one reason to revisit Phantom Menace, as well as some truly amazing YouTube mash-ups. Still, Tupac did get to live out a George Lucasian vision of sorts by being resurrected as a posthumous, tackily inserted hologram—and there’s still time for Tupac to leave his Cuban hideout and come audition for Episode VII.