Lucasfilm Removes Matt Smith From Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Cast List

As Lucasfilm prepares for the end of the saga with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, many fans have questions about the last entry in the franchise and all of the mysteries being presented. And while we now know who many of the new actors are playing in the upcoming film, there are still a lot of questions over the role supposedly played by Doctor Who actor Matt Smith.

After confirming his role in the new film, it looks like Disney and Lucasfilm are now backtracking on his involvement in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Though Smith was previously listed on the cast list for the international website, his name has since been scrubbed.

Smith's involvement was forced announced by Variety, breaking the actor's casting nearly a year ago. But the actor himself has remained coy on his involvement, telling journalist Emily Zemler that "As far as I can tell, I’m definitely not [in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker]."

Despite his poker face, many fans are speculating that Smith's role in the film will have to do with Emperor Palpatine, including some theories that harken back to the clone storylines from the old Extended Universe. It was a shock when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker teased the Emperor's return in the first trailer, which was later confirmed by director J.J. Abrams himself.

James Dyer of Empire Magazine spoke with the director at Star Wars Celebration and confirmed Palpatine's involvement.

"In case there’s any lingering ambiguity from the trailer (and McDiarmid’s appearance at the panel!), I can 100% confirm that Palpatine is back in The Rise Of Skywalker as I just asked JJ. He’s thrilled - and slightly incredulous- that McDiarmid’s presence on set didn’t leak," Dyer wrote.

And while this might seem like it comes out of left field, Abrams confirmed that he spoke with franchise creator George Lucas when hashing out the plans that would eventually become Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

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"There have been a lot of ideas since the beginning, since George first came up with this, of where things could go," Abrams explained to MTV News. "We had a meeting with him before we even wrote the script about this. So a lot of what we have taken, is really taken to heart, everything that's come before. While it's been obviously significantly challenging, it's been a greater opportunity than a challenge. I cannot wait for you to see what this movie is."

We'll find out Emperor Palpatine's role — and what it has to do with Matt Smith — when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker premieres in theaters on December 20th.