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Ryan Phillippe should play Anakin in ''Star Wars: Episode II''

Plus, find out which ”Dawson’s Creek” star is a top contender and which isn’t

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Joshua Jackson, James Van Der Beek
Frank Ockenfels

George Lucas may not know who he wants to cast as Anakin Skywalker in ”Star Wars: Episode II,” but nearly 3,000 voters in EW Online’s ongoing poll do: Mr. Reese Witherspoon, a.k.a. Ryan Phillippe, has nabbed 38 percent of the vote to earn the No. 1 spot. The runners-up are ex-”General Hospital” stud Jonathan Jackson (17%) and his no-relation namesake Joshua Jackson (16.5%) of ”Dawson’s Creek.” The most surprising result? The downturn in popularity of Jackson’s ”Creek” costar James Van Der Beek (yes, Dawson himself), who comes in dead last with just 1.4% of the vote.

Lucasfilm is remaining tight-lipped about which, if any, of these actors is set to screen test with Natalie ”Queen Amidala” Portman later this month. But Joshua Jackson recently told EW Online: ”Me and every other white male actor between 13 and 30 got to go in and meet with the casting director.” And indeed, EW confirmed that Jackson, Van Der Beek, and our frontrunner Phillippe were all under consideration for the coveted role.

But the chances of Phillippe actually playing the young Skywalker seem about as lean as his oft-pictured torso. First, as Anakin — who is six years younger than Amidala — the 25-year-old would have to appear more youthful than the dewy 18-year-old Portman. (We’re not sure even Haley Joel Osment would qualify.) And it seems unlikely that Phillippe would be willing to leave Witherspoon and their seven-month-old daughter behind for lengthy location shoots in Australia, Tunisia, and Italy when filming begins in June.

As for Van Der Beek, nabbing the Anakin role would give his career a much-needed butt kick. True, he scored a $52 million touchdown with last year’s football flick ”Varsity Blues.” But — as EW Online voters’ indifference attests — he’s recently been eclipsed by Joshua Jackson, who has scored high profile turns in ”The Skulls” and ”Gossip” (opening Friday).

Not to worry, though, if your favorite is trailing in the great casting race: Our poll remains open to voters. (These results are as of 2 p.m. on April 18.)

More: Read what Natalie Portman told EW Online about “Episode II”