Star Wars: Episode IX is in the process of casting another new female role. Director J.J. Abrams began production on the next (and final) installment of the Skywalker saga earlier this month, well ahead of the film's December 2019 release date. In classic Lucasfilm fashion, plot details are being kept under wraps for now, but fans do know who's in the movie's loaded ensemble. Episode IX is a hodgepodge of original trilogy icons, sequel trilogy veterans, and a handful of newcomers.
Just yesterday, former Doctor Who star Matt Smith signed on to Star Wars 9, making it seem like all the new parts had been filled. Smith was the fourth fresh face to join the franchise, following Keri Russell, Richard E. Grant, and Naomi Ackie. One would have thought (especially with the number of returning characters), Abrams had all he needed, but there's still at least one more person to find before the film is completely cast.
According to THS, the filmmakers are casting a role codenamed "Karina" and want an actress in the age range of 27-35 years old. Karina is described as a "younger Charlize Theron with street smarts." From the sound of things, the goal is for Karina to be a funny character, since the casting department is prioritizing "a good sense of humor" in their search.
Episode IX already had a lot on its plate before this development, so it'll be interesting to see how everything falls into place. Abrams is no stranger to balancing large casts and giving each character their due, but he arguably faces his biggest challenge here. Not only does he have to find a satisfying conclusion for the likes of Rey and Kylo Ren (whom audiences have followed for two movies and several years), but when Karina is cast, he'll be integrating five additions. Even if Star Wars 9 has a run time that rivals that of The Last Jedi, there likely won't be enough screen time to go around for everyone. It's always frustrating when a Star Wars character ends up getting shortchanged in a movie, and it looks like that's destined to happen here. Hopefully Abrams finds a way to weave everything together and make every character count.
THS' report also had updates about previously covered casting calls. It looks like the character with the infamous codename "Mara" is no longer involved, and one-time lead "Caro" (now going by "Lucy") has been downgraded to supporting. Perhaps the script went through some last-minute rewrites before filming started, which isn't out of the question. Shortly before Rian Johnson began production on The Last Jedi, he beefed up the roles for those returning from The Force Awakens. Maybe Abrams found ways to condense some story elements in a more efficient manner, but fans will have to wait until next year to see how it all comes together.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019