Doctor Who alum Matt Smith has joined the cast of Star Wars: Episode IX. Director J.J. Abrams started production on the sequel trilogy finale earlier this month, bringing back many of the actors who have appeared in the previous two installments. Of course, like all new Star Wars films, Episode IX welcomes some fresh faces to the galaxy far, far away. This time around, the likes of Keri Russell, Richard E. Grant, Naomi Ackie, and Dominic Monaghan join the franchise.
With those four newcomers in addition to the veterans, the Episode IX ensemble was already quite loaded. However, there was apparently one more role that needed to be filled, and now Abrams has found the right man for the job.
Per Variety, Smith has been cast in Star Wars 9 in what they call a "key role." Unsurprisingly, Smith's character remains firmly under wraps for the time being, and information is virtually nonexistent. From the sound of things, he has a meaningful part to play in the story, but time will tell just how significant this character is.
Since his tenure on Doctor Who ended back in 2014, Smith has kept busy with a number of film and TV projects. His most prominent post-Who role is arguably that of Prince Philip on Netflix's The Crown, for which he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy. On the movie side of things, Smith hasn't had the best of luck, appearing in the flop Terminator Genisys, the underwhelming Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies, and Patient Zero (which is now going straight to home video). Obviously, he's hoping to have better fortune with Star Wars, and odds are he will. Both installments of the sequel trilogy were box office hits and earned widespread critical praise. With Abrams back at the helm, Episode IX should follow suit and be a rousing crowd-pleaser that ends the Skywalker saga on a high note.
Smith may have played an iconic pop culture hero for years on TV, but that doesn't mean his mystery character will be a member of the Resistance (which seems to have more than enough main characters as it is). The actor isn't afraid to take on a villainous role, as evidenced by him playing Charles Manson in the biopic Charlie Says. It'll be interesting to see which side of the conflict Smith's part falls on, but either way he should do a great job of bringing the character to life. One would have think he'll be the last prominent addition to the cast, but Abrams could have some more surprises up his sleeve.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019