It looks like a familiar face will return in Star Wars: Episode IX, as Greg Grunberg seemingly confirmed that he’ll be in the final film of the sequel trilogy.
Grunberg, who played Resistance pilot Snap Wexley in The Force Awakens, in an interview with Yahoo! recently was asked whether he’ll be in Episode IX: “You know what, we’d better, or else my wife’s going to kill me for growing a beard. I can’t officially say anything, but yeah, this is getting itchy, so I’m getting itchy to go over there and do it. So it’s gonna be, yeah, hopefully. We’ll see.”
Grunberg referred to going “over there,” which very likely refers to Pinewood Studios in England, which is of course where Star Wars has worked on all of their recent movies. And Grunberg (and his wife) seems to hate his beard, so it makes sense that he’d be growing it for the project. In other words, it seems all but confirmed that Snap Wexley will be back in Episode IX.
Snap Wexley is in many ways the Wedge Antilles of the sequel trilogy. Snap’s mother, Norra Wexley, was a rebel pilot, and her teenage son eventually got involved as well, befriending Wedge Antilles – who served as a mentor for the young boy. Shortly before the Battle of Jakku, as the New Republic fleet was preparing, Snap enlisted in the fleet and convinced Wedge to reform Phantom Squadron to rush to the aid of the New Republic – and of his mother, who was on the planet. Wedge did reform Phantom Squadron and Snap flew as a part of it during the final major battle of the Galactic Civil War. In the aftermath of the battle, Antilles became a flight instructor on Hosnian Prime and trained Snap and other pilots (as well as apparantly developing feelings for Snap’s mother). Years later, Leia Organa recruited Snap for the Resistance, and the pilot was a part of Poe Dameron’s elite Black Squadron. Snap was the one who flew a reconnaissance mission on Starkiller Base, and he also flew in the attack on the planet as well.
Snap didn’t appear in The Last Jedi, and all we know is that the Resistance had pilots – in fact, most of the pilots who survived the Starkiller Base attack – at other evacuation points and on other missions. So it’s likely that Snap was helping the Resistance evacuate at another location, though the question of why he didn’t come to their aid on Crait remains to be answered.
That should be answered before the Poe Dameron comic ends, and then we should be seeing Snap again in J.J. Abrams’ Episode IX. Greg Grunberg and Abrams are longtime friends and collaborators, so it’s not surprising. Hopefully this means that other pilots, like Jess Pava, will also be returning for Episode IX too.