Right after the announcement that Dominic Monaghan will be part of Star Wars Episode IX comes another significant casting announcement: Matt Smith will also be joining the cast.
Variety reports that Smith has been cast in a key role. As with Monaghan’s role, details on the Episode IX character’s affiliation and personality are being kept under wraps. (Given his English heritage, however, it’s not too hard to typecast him as someone allied with the First Order.) Smith recently received accolades for his Emmy-nominated performance in Netflix’s The Crown, where he portrayed Prince Philip. Fans of Doctor Who are likely shouting “Geronimo!” with the hire of the actor behind the Eleventh Doctor, as this represents the biggest crossover of talent from that show and Star Wars, which has a history of pulling talent from the long-running British science fiction series.
Between this mid-production announcement and the announcement of Monaghan joining the cast, I’m beginning to suspect that we might be seeing Lucasfilm finally fill out what the Knights of Ren are like underneath the masks, as that was one set-up from The Force Awakens that has not yet been resolved (although The Last Jedi heavily implied that they’re Luke’s former students who joined Kylo Ren in his betrayal). J. J. Abrams also explicitly noted that he wanted to see – or possibly even make – a spin-off with the characters before he took over Episode IX, suggesting that Colin Trevorrow didn’t have any significant plans for them in his unmade version of the movie. With Abrams on the movie, he can bring them in himself. However, there’s no way of knowing for sure until Lucasfilm lifts their veil of secrecy. (I’m still pulling for the idea that Keri Russell is playing the “lead” Knight of Ren, and that these other roles will be comparatively smaller.)
Star Wars Episode IX will be released on December 20, 2019. Its cast includes Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Billy Dee Williams, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Jimmy Vee, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, Keri Russell, Dominic Monaghan, and Matt Smith. Archive footage of Carrie Fisher will also be utilized.