'Star Wars Episode IX' Taps Keri Russell for Role

TV icon Keri Russell, best known for her career-making role in Felicity, has been added to the cast of Star Wars Episode IX, Variety reports.

Russell's breakout show was executive produced by JJ Abrams, who will write and direct Episode IX.

The casting report claims that "The role calls for action-heavy fight scenes," which may have felt outside of Russell's wheelhouse until recent years, but roles on The Americans and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes have cemented her badass cred. Matt Reeves, who co-created Felicity with Abrams, directed Russell in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Russell will step into a franchise reeling from the loss of Carrie Fisher's Princess Leia, and likely provide a strong and veteran female presence in the film.

Abrams, who directed Star Wars: The Force Awakens and openly said that he wished he had not signed on for only one movie, got his wish when Colin Trevorrow and Lucasfilm parted ways over creative differences, opening up a slot for the final installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy. Star Wars: The Last Jedi filmmaker Rian Johnson is developing a new trilogy for Lucasfilm, making Abrams the most obvious person to step in and fill the void.

Earlier today, a report came out suggesting that Episode IX will likely be finding its way to some familiar Star Wars locales. The build-up to the movie has kicked into high gear this week with franchise stars John Boyega and Mark Hamill tweeting countdowns to the film's release date, which is almost a year and a half away.

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After The Last Jedi made a ton of money and earned great reviews but turned off some hardcore fans of the franchise, Solo: A Star Wars Story took a box office hit. Behind the scenes chaos during production, mediocre reviews, a blockbuster-stuffed month at the box office, and more could be blamed, although some fans took the "credit" on social media, insisting that boycotts of Lucasfilm had done the trick. In any event, with more than a full calendar year between Star Wars movies and still stinging from the box office frustration, it seemed as though the cast and crew of Episode IX may have been staying quiet so as not to be a distraction...but with production about to kick into high gear, expect more news soon.

Episode IX lands in theaters on December 20, 2019.