Star Wars recruits Keri Russell for mysterious Episode IX role


Fresh off her Emmy-nominated work in The Americans, Keri Russell will reunite with J.J. Abrams for a little project called Star Wars.

We already have plenty reason to look forward to the next Star Wars movie. After The Last Jedi, it’s impossible not to be curious about how Rey and Finn’s adventures will end. (Okay, maybe it’s not impossible; apparently, many people were immune to TLJ’s tongue-in-cheek charms. But those people can go drink walrus milk.) Lucasfilm could release Episode IX with no advertising or fanfare, and it would still make a billion dollars.

Nonetheless, Star Wars continues to provide. Early Friday afternoon,Variety reported that Keri Russell is in talks to join the yet untitled final installment of the sequel trilogy.

Russell’s casting reunites her with J.J. Abrams, who assumed directing duties on Episode IX after Colin Trevorrow’s abrupt departure. The California-born actress received her breakout role playing the title character of The WB’s Felicity, a TV show created by Abrams. Later, she had a minor role in Mission: Impossible III, Abrams’s feature directorial debut, playing a doomed protégé of Tom Cruise’s super-spy, Ethan Hunt.

But it was the small screen that returned her to the spotlight. As Elizabeth Jennings on FX’s The Americans, Russell gave what Vulture’s Angelica Jade Bastién described as one of the most complex performances ever on television. Throughout the spy drama’s six seasons, she displayed astonishing finesse, allowing Elizabeth’s humanity to exist alongside her ideals.

For Star Wars, though, she won’t have six years to develop a character. Details about Russell’s role in Episode IX are vague; Variety only reveals that it involves “action-heavy fight scenes.”

Already, speculation that she plays Rey’s mother has clouded the Twittersphere. True, Russell bears a passing resemblance to Daisy Ridley. But none of the other brunette women in the Star Wars galaxy have turned out to be related. More importantly, The Last Jedi signaled an intention of moving past twists involving parentage. It seems appropriate for Episode IX to continue that trend.

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Speaking for ourselves, we only have one request for Abrams: whoever Russell plays, please don’t kill her this time. Also, if you could give Matthew Rhys a cameo, that would be great. Star Wars: Episode IX is scheduled for release on December 20, 2019.