When they announced the cast list for Star Wars: Episode IX, most people zeroed in on the surprising revelation that Carrie Fisher would be reprising her role as Princess Leia from beyond the grave. However, tucked away in there was a mention that Richard E. Grant would be joining the cast, which for me was incredibly promising news.
From his iconic role as Withnail in Withnail and I right the way through to his villainous turn in Logan, Grant’s a reliably magnetic presence. But who’s he playing in Episode IX? Well, I’d assumed he’d make an excellent First Order officer, but a more concrete hint may have come in a recent interview on the Graham Norton Show, where he said the following:
“Yes, I am in the last Star Wars. I have no idea [if I’ll be recognisable] because I’ve not even been allowed to tell my family what the name of my character is. If I told you I would get fired. We’re not even allowed to take the script home. There is a lot of security.”
First off, it’s interesting that he claims that Episode IX will be the ‘last’ Star Wars. After all, it’s pretty damn obviously not going to be the last movie in the franchise (I’m still looking forward to Rian Johnson’s trilogy), but this does indicate that at least on set, the cast and crew recognize that this is a definitive end to the Skywalker saga. It also implies that whatever happens in the film is going to be bombastic enough to get rid of the First Order for good.
More specifically for Grant’s character, it’s interesting that he mentions that he has no idea if he’ll be recognizable. This could be a hint that he’s playing a role that’ll either by fully or partly CGI – perhaps a droid or some kind of alien. Given that membership of the First Order seems to be restricted to humans, maybe Grant’s character will either be neutral or affiliated with the Resistance. Either way, we know for certain he’s not going to be playing Thrawn in Star Wars: Episode IX.