Keri Russell is going to be in Star Wars: Episode IX, despite not being listed in the official casting press release. The conclusion to Disney's first Star Wars trilogy is rapidly approaching. J.J. Abrams is back to direct the film, after first joining the franchise with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In Abrams' typical way, everything about Star Wars 9 has been kept close to Lucasfilm's chest so far. It wasn't until earlier today that they confirmed the cast, prior to production beginning.
While the cast listing included several surprises - including a posthumous appearance by Carrie Fisher as Leia - one of the other shocking aspects was who wasn't included. It was reported several weeks ago that Keri Russell was in talks to join the franchise, but she was nowhere to be seen on Lucasfilm's official cast announcement. There appears to be a reason for that, as she's still slated to be involved.
Variety, the outlet that originally revealed Russell's negotiations, states in a new article that Keri Russell is going to appear in Star Wars 9. So why was she not included in the press release? It appears her deal had not yet officially closed in the time before Lucasfilm wanted to make the announcement. However, Variety says that her deal is closed as of today, so Russell will indeed be part of the cast. StarWars.com has since updated the press release to confirm Russell's addition.
With Russell now entrenched as part of Star Wars 9's cast, the question again turns to who she will be playing. Character breakdowns for Abrams' film teased the addition of a character named "Mara Jade," after the legends character of the same name. That isn't believed to be the character's actual name, but rather a placeholder designed to get fans talking. Regardless of her name, this is thought to be the character that Russell is playing.
Russell is one of three new additions for Star Wars 9, all of whom have unconfirmed roles at this point. Newcomer Naomi Ackie has landed one of the mystery roles (possibly "Caro" as she matches the character breakdown), while Hollywood veteran Richard E. Grant also secured a role. With so many returning characters, it's unclear just how big each of their roles will be. Many believe Russell will have the largest part to play, since her casting was previously reported, and she's looking to increase her star power now that her acclaimed FX political drama The Americans has wrapped up. Plus, she's worked with Abrams several times before, further lending credence to the idea that she's onboard to play an important character.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019