Rumors are flying that Keri Russell is set to join J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars Episode IX, and the excitement levels are full-throttle.
Russell, who’s worked closely with Abrams in the past, is a great fit for the franchise, an incredible actress who just wrapped six seasons of The Americans, one of the best shows on TV. And she’s not just the cherub-faced, curly haired Felicity that we remember; on The Americans, she donned wigs and different personalities as a Soviet spy, and went to some extremely dark places. Her versatility is an asset, which means she could fit in just about anywhere in the Star Wars universe. With that in mind, let’s have some fun guessing who she might play. Here are five possibilities we find intriguing.
A LEIA PROTEGE WHO HELPS THE RESISTANCE
Colin Trevorrow was originally tapped to write and direct Episode IX, but was let go after Carrie Fisher‘s unexpected death in December 2016. Abrams stepped in to close out the trilogy, and the final episode had to be re-worked from ground level to accommodate the loss of Leia, who, according to Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy, was set to play a major role. It would make sense, then, that Leia’s leadership role would go to someone else. The obvious answer is Poe Dameron, as The Last Jedi alludes, but perhaps that role would be bifurcated. Maybe Poe will assume a general rank and need someone else to step into his hot-shot pilot role. Or maybe he’ll stay in the cockpit and let someone else lead the way. That would track with his lesson in The Last Jedi – to trust women in high-ranking divisions – and would set the stage nicely for a new character, perhaps one played by Russell, to lead the Resistance and bestow Leia’s wisdom to a new generation, much like Holdo did.
A KNIGHT OF REN
On The Americans, Russell played Elizabeth Jennings, a cold and occasionally evil assassin. She’s excellent at mining dark corners of the psyche, which is why it would be fascinating to see her as a member of Kylo’s mysterious Knights of Ren. We don’t know much about the Knights, but we can assume from our brief glimpse in The Force Awakens they are followers of Kylo who helped him destroy Luke‘s Jedi academy. That would make them an order of powerful dark side Force users, and a major threat to the Resistance, who have Rey on their side. Because we’ve never seen the Knights of Ren unmasked, it’s possible there is a woman among their ranks. It would be fun to have another female villain after the (presumed) death of Captain Phasma. Give us the Keri Russell/ Daisy Ridley lightsaber battle that we deserve!
A HIGH-RANKING MEMBER OF THE FIRST ORDER
Now that Snoke is gone and Kylo is at odds with Hux, it would make sense to surround himself with loyal followers in the First Order. On The Americans, Russell’s Elizabeth was fully faithful to the KGB, so she could easily apply that determination and servitude to a role in the First Order militia. Kylo loves to be told that he’s powerful and right, so he would no doubt take kindly to a high-ranking woman who worships him. Also, it’d be fun to hear Keri shout orders at peons.
THE DAUGHTER OF REBEL SOLDIERS
As we know from the tie-in graphic novel, Shattered Empire, Poe Dameron is the son of Shara Bey and Kes Damerson, two Rebel soldiers from Yavin IV who were close with Leia. Poe was raised on stories of the Rebel Alliance, which led to his role in the Resistance. Surely he’s not the only one who grew up under the spell of Rebel leadership. Russell could play a peer of his who answers the call at the end of The Last Jedi to help the Resistance grow in number. Or maybe she’s been there all along in the background, ready to emerge as a fearless pilot or ground solider to combat the growing presence of the First Order.
A SURVIVOR FROM LUKE’S JEDI ACADEMY
It’s assumed that when Kylo went rogue and destroyed Luke’s Jedi school that he killed every last student who wasn’t a Knight of Ren. But what if one of them escaped and is hiding deep in the galaxy to protect herself? It would be great if Rey’s mission in Episode IX is to round up other Force users, and it would be extra exciting if she encountered one more trained than she is. That way, she’d have a new mentor after Luke’s passing to train her in the ways of the Force. Russell’s role is said to be “action-heavy,” so this would track.
Those are our ideas – do you have any of your own? Let us know in the comments below!
Image: FX Networks / Frank Ockenfels