J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode IX began shooting earlier this month, and today, Variety reports that a new actor has joined the cast: former Doctor Who star Matt Smith.
As usual with all things Star Wars, advanced details are light at the moment, but the report describes Smith’s character as a “key role” in the upcoming film. Science fiction fans are doubtless most familiar with Smith for his multiyear run as the Eleventh Doctor on the BBC program Doctor Who. He’s also been demonstrating his range since leaving that program by earning an Emmy nomination for his performance as Prince Philip in Netflix’s historical drama The Crown.
Smith joins a cast filled with Star Wars regulars and newcomers to the saga. Lucasfilm has already announced that Mark Hamill will return, most likely as a Luke Skywalker Force ghost, and Carrie Fisher will also appear, thanks to unused footage that was shot during the production of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Billy Dee Williams will return to the series as Lando Calrissian, and The Americans’ Keri Russell will be featured in what has been described as an “action-heavy” role. The principal cast introduced in the last two films — Daisy Ridley as Rey, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Kelly Marie Tran as Rose, and John Boyega as Finn — will be back as well.
Star Wars: Episode IX is scheduled for release in December 2019.