Variety is reporting that Keri Russell (The Americans) has talked with director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm about a role in Star Wars’ ninth episode, coming in 2019, and that the director and studio are keen to bring her aboard.
The casting isn’t confirmed and Variety notes that Abrams has two other roles to fill, too. It’s still interesting because, despite stars including Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac, bringing on Russell would likely mean a completely new, major character as Abrams tries to tie off the trilogy.
Before The Americans, the critically acclaimed spy thriller that ended this May after six seasons, Russell was probably best known for her starring role in Felicity, The WB’s college-age drama that aired from 1998 to 2002. Abrams was one of that show’s co-creators. Variety said Russell’s role “calls for action-heavy fight scenes,” but it’s not known if the character is on the side of the Resistance or The First Order.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi was a huge commercial success for Disney and Lucasfilm ($620 million domestic box office, eighth all-time) but director Rian Johnson’s kill-your-past story leaves big questions about how this trilogy will wrap up.
The final chapter of the space saga’s third trilogy still has a conflict between Rey (Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Driver) to resolve but a decimated Resistance and the canonical farewells to heroes like Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo make Episode IX a bigger question mark than the finales that closed out the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy.
Abrams directed 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens but Johnson’s The Last Jedi seemed to cut off some of the bigger concepts that Abrams introduced with The Force Awakens — Rey’s parentage and Supreme Leader Snoke among them.
Abrams is known for his traditional approach to fan-favorite franchises, which is why The Force Awakens was both praised as a return to the series’ roots and still criticized for being too close of a copy of 1977’s Episode IV: A New Hope. He was confirmed as director for Episode IX back in September. Star Wars: Episode IX is eyeing a a holiday 2019 premiere at last word.