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Doctor Who’s Matt Smith Lands A ‘Key Role’ In Star Wars: Episode IX

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Even before the first trailer for Star Wars: Episode IX is released you’ll have plenty to talk about, as J.J. Abrams and company have gone out of their way to assemble a fascinating cast. In addition to regulars both young (John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Daisy Ridley) and old (Anthony Daniels, Mark Hamill), Abrams is bringing back series favourite Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian. Even Carrie Fisher will appear in the film—using un-used footage from earlier films—in spite of the fact that she died two years ago.

Abrams is also adding several new actors to the mix, though their roles remain a mystery. Previously announced additions include Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, Dominic Monaghan, and Keri Russell. That already promising list got a lot more interesting yesterday when news broke that another major actor has been added in a “key role”: Doctor Who veteran Matt Smith.

Best known for his signature TV series (Doctor Who, The Crown), Smith has a relatively limited filmography. But there’s at least one significant trend in his previous films that may offer a clue regarding his role in Episode IX: he excels at playing villains. In addition to playing Alex in Terminator Genisys and Charles Manson in the upcoming Charlie Says, he showcased his dark side to scene-stealing effect in Ryan Gosling’s under-seen directorial debut, Lost River.

If Abrams has seen any of these films, there’s a good chance Smith has signed on to show off his overlooked villain potential. That’s pure speculation, but we’ll have to settle for that until more details emerge.

Star Wars: Episode IX arrives in theatres on December 20, 2019. In the meantime, check out a few of the aforementioned Smith villains in the trailers below.