EXTRA: Josh Jackson’s ‘Star Wars’ Misadventure

So, how does a guy distinguish himself from a pool of similar-looking, similar-aged, similar-caliber heartthrobs who are willing to do just about anything to land the role of the teen-aged Anakin Skywalker in the new “Star Wars” movie? Joshua Jackson By doing exactly that: Just about anything.

So when a story broke a couple of weeks ago that “Dawson’s Creek” wonder boy Joshua Jackson had willed himself onto the Anakin candidate list by personally spreading rumors about his possible casting, well, it all made sense.

Except Jackson never did such a thing.

The urban legend began as most urban legends do — with an itty, bitty bit of truth. In late February, Jackson did a phone interview with the morning drive-time deejays at Miami’s WZTA-FM. During the course of the chat, the radio guys asked the TV star about stories that he was being eyed by George Lucas and Co. for the future Darth Vader. Shot back Jackson: Yeah, I made up those myself.

A heart-baring confession, to be sure. Except it wasn’t.

“Jackson was just joking. You can tell that he didn’t mean that at all,” Glenn Richards, WZTA’s “Morning Show” producer, tells Hollywood.com.

If Jackson was trying to be funny, he certainly didn’t come across as tongue-in-cheek to the “Episode II”-sensitive gossip community, as evidenced by the dead-seriousness of second- and third-hand stories surrounding the incident.

So, what does Jackson himself think about his joking around being taken out of context?

“It was a joke,” Jackson’s publicist says. “I was there, in person, at the radio station when Josh was doing that interview. He was being bombarded by a slew of Anakin questions, and he was simply trying to find a witty way to answer.”

Notably, during that notorious Miami interview, Jackson ended up pretty much killing the he’s-up-for-Anakin thread. “… I have to admit that I am not even in the running,” he said. “… I talked to the casting director once, that is as far as I got. As much as I would love to play the role, there’s no way I would get the part.”

When it comes down to it, there’s only one group of people whose opinion really matters — the powers-that-be at “Star Wars” headquarters, aka Lucasfilms. And their official word is that an Anakin candidate list is still in the process of being put together. No one knows who’s on it. No one knows who’s not on it. (Well, somebody knows. Apparently, though, nobody who’s on — or off it — knows.)

Jackson, meanwhile, has moved on, apparently deciding to hedge his “Star Wars” bets with other — less ambiguous — tactics: shameless pleads.

In the April issue of teenybopper mag Cosmogirl!, the 21-year-old is quoted as saying: “If George Lucas is listening: ‘Please, please, please!'”