Matt Smith Details His Unfilmed ‘Rise of Skywalker’ Role

In the summer of 2018, there was a big rumor that Matt Smith was joining the cast of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in a key role. But if you saw the film, you know that Smith wasn’t in it. And we never got any clarification on whether Smith was in the film and cut out, or if he got the role and then plans changed, or if he was never involved at all and it was just an incorrect rumor.

Smith himself finally gave some information on what that whole kerfuffle was about to the Happy Sad Confused podcast’s Josh Horowitz. He confirmed that, yes, at one point he was in line for a big role in the film — but that he never actually shot any scenes for the movie.

“We were close to me being it, but then it just never quite happened,” Smith revealed. “The thing they were thinking of me for, eventually the part became obsolete and they didn’t need it. And so I never got to be in Star Wars.”

Asked whether his role would have been as the son of Emperor Palpatine (who, as it turns out, was Rey’s father), Smith wryly responded “I could not possibly say. But it was a pretty groovy thing. It was a was a groovy part and concept. It was a big story detail, like a transformative Star Wars story detail. It never quite got over the line.”

Although we don’t know the exact details of Smith’s part, we do know that The Rise of Skywalker changed quite a lot over the course of its development. For a long time, Colin Trevorrow was signed to write and direct Episode IX, and he had a very different conception of the film than the one we got. Eventually he dropped out and J.J. Abrams was convinced to return to finish out the new trilogy. Along the way, whatever part Matt Smith was penciled in for got written out of the story.

Smith is in Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho, which is now playing in theaters around the country. He doesn’t play Palpatine’s son in that one, though. You can watch the full clip of Smith’s interview below.

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