While it has been rumored for several weeks, there is finally confirmation that Golden Globe-winning actress Keri Russell will be joining the Star Wars universe for Episode IX of the franchise, reports Variety. The casting reunites The Americans star with the creator of her breakout role as the titular character in Felicity, J.J. Abrams, who will be directing the movie. They also worked together on Mission: Impossible II. Filming at London’s Pinewood Studios is set to begin on Aug. 1, with several favorites on board to return, including Mark Hamill, whose character Luke Skywalker died in Episode 8, as well as the late Carrie Fisher, as reported previously by the Inquisitr.
“Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast, or use a CG character,” director J.J. Abrams revealed in a released statement. “With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie, we have found a way to honor Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII.”
Billy Dee Williams has also been announced, reprising his wildly popular role as Lando Calrissian. Other returning cast members include Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, and Billie Lourd. The other new actors who will be joining for this installment are Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant.
An interesting tidbit about Abrams’s association with Russell on their TV show is how it spawned his next hit, Alias, according to the IMDB. “J.J. Abrams says the idea for the show came from a half-joking story plot for his series Felicity. Abrams considered an episode, where Felicity spends her summer as a government agent, then returns to school the next fall like nothing ever happened.”
As for what character Russell will play in the film, details have been next to nothing but that, of course, hasn’t stopped social media from buzzing with theories. Will she be a part of the Dark Side or will she be a part of the resistance? Some speculate she could end up being revealed as Rey’s (Ridley) long-lost mom but that opens up the can of worms about who is her father. Could it be Luke Skywalker himself, hence why she has the Force running through her? It will be a while before the answers are revealed, young Padawan. The movie isn’t scheduled to be released until December of 2019.