With filming set to start this month for Star Wars: Episode IX, we should be getting casting news soon. In fact, it’s already starting to trickle out.
There are indications that Billy Dee Williams may be reprising his role as Lando Calrissian, and today Variety has an exclusive report about a potential newcomer to the Star Wars universe. According to their report, Keri Russell is in “early talks” to be cast in the film for a part that requires “action-heavy fight scenes.” Variety says that Abrams and Lucasfilm have met with several actresses over the past two months but decided on Russell right before the Fourth of July.
Variety also reports that Abrams is likely to cast two more actors before filming starts, which seems to imply that there will be three prominent newcomers in Episode IX (just like in The Last Jedi).
We don’t have any sort of indication what role Keri Russell will play in the movie, nor what side she’s on. But it’s very interesting that her role requires her to film action scenes. Some have fairly wondered whether this means she will be one of the Knights of Ren, which would certainly be interesting, but there’s no way to really tell.
Russell has worked with J.J. Abrams in the past, as she starred in the TV series Felicity from 1998-2002 (which was created by Abrams) and later worked with Abrams again on Mission: Impossible III.
It is also worth noting that Variety reports that Abrams is expected to cast two more actors, presumably for new roles. Those two roles, along with Russell, would create three new prominent roles in the film. That’s exactly what The Last Jedi did, bringing in Kelly Marie Tran (Rose), Laura Dern (Amilyn Holdo), and Benicio Del Toro (DJ).
We should be getting some official casting news soon, but sequel trilogy regulars Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, and Mark Hamill are all expected to reprise their roles in Episode IX. It’s likely Kelly Marie Tran will be back as well, that Billy Dee Williams may return, and that several newcomers will join the cast – which seems to include Keri Russell.
Star Wars: Episode IX, directed by J.J. Abrams, will begin production this summer with a scheduled release date of December 20, 2019.