Despite production being underway on Star Wars: Episode IX, casting news continues to trickle in for the final chapter of the Skywalker Saga. Following newcomers Keri Russell, Richard E. Grant, Naomi Ackie, and Dominic Monaghan, now comes word that Matt Smith has joined the sequel. Of course, everyone immediately came to the assumption that Smith would be playing a member of the First Order. He’s British, so he’s a villain, many claimed. Well, placing the newly Emmy nominated actor in such a role is as likely as it is obvious. But it’s not the only easy fit for Smith. Below are five ways he could have been typecast in the Star Wars franchise.
Sniveling First Order Officer
With his current notoriety coming from his Emmy-nominated performance as Prince Philip in The Crown, Smith is most simply pictured as another man in uniform. And because of the role’s association with the British Empire, he seems perfectly suited for a role as the equivalent of an Imperial officer, one who is smug and sniveling and maybe, like Philip, rather spoiled. But such a character would clash with General Hux, whom Domhnall Gleeson has brilliantly portrayed against type. Well, there’s a solution to that notion, and fans have already been shipping Smith’s presumed First Order character and Hux.
Galactic Gay Icon
Shipping male characters in the Star Wars sequel trilogy is hardly new, as #FinnPoe has been a thing since the release of The Force Awakens. Imagining Smith and Gleeson’s Hux together isn’t hard to do, and director J.J. Abrams has promised openly gay roles in the franchise, but that would be a shame to have the first official LGBTQ Star Wars romance come in the form of such repressed villainous characters. Smith would more aptly be typecast as a distinct personality who is both a gay icon within the Star Wars Galaxy and could be such outside the screen, as well. He’s starred in biopics of real-life gay icons Christopher Isherwood and Robert Mapplethorpe and has been considered a bit of a gay icon via Doctor Who, so it wouldn’t be a stretch.
Intergalactic Serial Killer
Could Matt Smith play a character who is even more nefarious than a First Order officer? Someone who isn’t so much a major antagonist as a separately villainous individual, like a Boba Fett? But instead of another bounty hunter or double-crossing mercenary, this role would be that of a mass murderer. Or at least a wannabe serial killer or someone orchestrating some kind of slaughter. Does Smith have that in him? We shall find out very soon, with his portrayal of Charlie Manson in Charlie Says debuting at the Venice Film Festival this weekend. That’s not is first dip into the pool of wannabe serial killers, though, as he previously starred on stage as Patrick Bateman in the musical adaptation of “American Psycho.”
Speaking of mass extermination, the Daleks would blend in well with the rest of the droids in the Star Wars canon, and wouldn’t it be fun to have Smith play an evil droid inspired by the Dalek design? It’d be like Doctor Who was converted into a Dalek, a la Oswin in the episode “Asylum of the Daleks.” Wait, though, that’d be casting Smith against type, wouldn’t it? Sure, so let’s look also at his part in Terminator Genisys, in which he plays an embodiment of Skynet. Yeah, we don’t like to think about any of that, either, but it happened. Smith portrayed a physical humanoid incarnation of one of cinema’s most iconic AI entities. He could make up for it now. Isn’t it about time the Star Wars franchise had another major droid character on the side of the bad guys?
Hey, what if Smith’s character is a good guy? That just doesn’t seem right. For reasons of recent roles, the actor is mostly thought of as disagreeable characters. But let’s not forget that he’s still most famous for his breakout portrayal of the Eleventh Doctor on Doctor Who. His young and quirky version of the Doctor Who protagonist was instrumental in making the rebooted series an international hit, with his bowtie (bowties are cool!), clownish charm, and continued use of phrasings like “wibbly wobbly, timey wimey.” He did go darker at times, but mostly he was a fun Doctor. It’s time to let him play another fun character, maybe another non-Skywalker-related Jedi. From his time as the Doctor, he has experience manipulating people’s minds regarding his identification (via psychic paper), operating a light-up handheld weapon (the sonic screwdriver), and general space travel as a guardian of the galaxy. He was even involved in a big revelation about someone’s parentage, if something similar should happen to come up in Star Wars: Episode IX…