Filming is already underway on Star Wars 9, but the trilogy-capper isn’t done casting just yet. Per Variety, Doctor Who alum and The Crown star Matt Smith has signed on to join Star Wars: Episode IX in an unknown but “key” role (cue “HE’S PLAYING REY’S FATHER” rumors). This is the second additional casting to be announced after Episode IX began filming, following in the footsteps of Dominic Monaghan’s (Lost) addition last week—although it’s possible negotiations with these actors were well underway before filming began and only now have the deals been finalized.
There aren’t a ton of new roles in Episode IX, with the major new additions being Smith, Monaghan, Richard E. Grant, Naomi Ackie, and Keri Russell, as well as Billy Dee Williams’ highly anticipated reprisal of Lando Calrissian. That’s to be expected, as co-writer and director J.J. Abrams’ main priority is bringing the arc of the Skywalker story to a definitive conclusion, ending the story that he began in The Force Awakens with three primary characters: Rey (Daisy Ridley), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), and Finn (John Boyega). Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) will no doubt get his due as well, but let’s be honest—the crux of this new trilogy is the dynamic between Rey and Kylo Ren, and that’s going to be the beating heart of Episode IX as their story comes to a close.
As for who Smith is playing, your guess is as good as mine. Despite Doctor Who, the guy has recently been cast in somewhat antagonistic roles, from the petulant Prince Philip in The Crown to a murderous robot in Terminator Genisys. But Smith’s a great actor, so he’s no doubt capable of playing whatever Abrams has put in front of him.
Abrams co-wrote the screenplay for Episode IX from scratch with Chris Terrio (Argo) when he replaced Colin Trevorrow as director, who had been working on his own screenplay for the film. The secrets of Star Wars 9 will remain under wraps for a good long while, but at least we know the new cast members in this thing are incredibly exciting.
Star Wars: Episode IX also stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Kelly Marie Tran, Anthony Daniels, Domhnall Gleeson, Lupita Nyong’o, Billie Lourd, and Joonas Suotamo and hits theaters on December 20, 2019.