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Abrams All-Star Keri Russell Joins ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’

She’s Rey’s Mom…oh shut up with that nonsense. 
Keri Russell
By  · Published on July 6th, 2018

She’s Rey’s Mom! Oh, shut up with that nonsense.

Everyone wants a good luck charm, whether they need it or not. J.J. Abrams launched his brand with Keri Russell by his side, and she has been there to usher him along the way ever since. Superstition be damned, but at the same time, if you slammed the winning home run wearing those purple socks, you might as well wear them for the next game. Cross your fingers and your toes for good measure.

The next game for Abrams is a return to the Star Wars saga, and there is a lot of pressure in closing out another über-treasured trilogy. Nevermind the barking imps who cannot shut up about their disappointment with The Last Jedi (we appreciate criticism as much as the next guy, but don’t be an asshole about it); Episode IX was bound to be a herculean task. Whatever whimsical boon Abrams can attach in pre-production can only amount in the positive.

According to Variety, Russell is eyeing a key role in the film. Of course, any casting news centered around the galaxy far, far away immediately sparks rampant speculation. She’s Rey’s Mom! Gah, give it a rest with that. Let’s just be excited about top-tier talent joining the ranks. Ok. We cool?

All that we know about Russell’s character is that it requires “action-heavy fight scenes.” That means more skirmishing than Laura Dern’s single pew-pew from The Last Jedi, and Russell has easily dominated in that arena before. For the last five years, she has destroyed all manner of Cold War fools on The Americans. That right there should grant her access to a lightsaber.

Again, though, the real appeal here is the re-teaming of Russell and Abrams. They know each other’s ins and outs. They vibe really well and have traveled through multiple genres together. You want a heart devastated, or a roundhouse kick delivered, Russell gets it done.

From 1998-2002, Russell starred as the title character on Felicity. Along with Abrams, they pushed the adventures of a naive girl chasing her high school crush into “the real world” of college as far as they could. Frustrations over the storytelling limits dictated by the WB inevitably reached a boil, and Abrams flirted with the idea of transforming his lead into an international spy of mystery. That thought experiment would lead to Alias, and another batch of years conquering television.

As Tom Cruise was contemplating the relaunch of his Mission: Impossible franchise, he harmoniously caught a late-night rerun of Alias. He had his man. In making the leap to the big screen, Abrams cast Russell as his Janet Leigh. With just a few scenes to make an impression and propel the preposterous plot to its necessary heights, Russell kicked some tremendous ass blasting machine guns back-to-back with Ethan Hunt’s supreme badass.

We are 532 days away from the release of Episode IX (December 20, 2019). This is just one of many more casting announcements to come. Not much to go on here but our own excitement. You can never go wrong with adding talent, and Russell bashing rebels or imperials is a pleasing proposition.

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Brad Gullickson is a Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects and Senior Curator for One Perfect Shot. When not rambling about movies here, he's rambling about comics as the co-host of Comic Book Couples Counseling. Hunt him down on Twitter: @MouthDork. (He/Him)