Matt Smith, the star of Doctor Who and The Crown, has been announced as the latest addition to Star Wars: Episode IX, with the British actor expected to play a key role in the film when it is released in late 2019, as first reported by Variety.
Smith joins a loaded cast making their first Star Wars appearance in Episode IX, with Keri Russell, Richard E. Grant, Dominic Monaghan, and Naomi Ackie also joining. Of the original cast, it has been confirmed that Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Adam Driver will be returning.
Perhaps the most well-received "new" addition to the franchise is that of Billy Dee Williams, who is making his return to the franchise, reprising his role as Lando Calrissian. Williams will be joining his original castmates Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels, who will be playing Luke Skywalker and C-3PO respectively.
Carrie Fisher will posthumously feature in the film through unreleased footage filmed during Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The actress that famously portrayed Princess Leia passed away due to a heart attack in 2016.
Episode IX marks another peak in the career of Smith as the Northampton-born actor rose to prominence through his portrayal of Doctor Who, as well as his portrayal of Prince Phillip in The Crown, which saw him nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. Smith will not be returning to The Crown, due to the creative decision to replace the cast every two seasons. Tobias Menzies will be taking on the role.Smith is also expecting big things from his upcoming portrayal of Charles Manson in the film Charlie Says. The film will make its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 2, 2018.
Very little is known about the plot of the film, outside of it being a continuation of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and that it will be the final Star Wars film focused on the Skywalker clan, effectively ending the story of the original Star Wars more than 40 years after it was originally released in 1977.
J.J. Abrams will be returning to direct the finale of the trilogy he kicked off with The Force Awakens in 2015, taking over for Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow, who left the project over creative differences in September, 2017.
The scheduled release date for Episode IX is December 20, 2019, delayed from the original May 24, 2019, release date due to production delays. Filming is currently underway in the United Kingdom, with pictures from the set currently making the rounds, courtesy of Metro.