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Matt Smith Teases His Character Would’ve Changed Star Wars History in Rise of Skywalker

I just know he was supposed to be Palpatine.

Matt Smith crying as the eleventh Doctor on BBC's Doctor Who.

I have my problems with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and I don’t know that I’ll ever be over them. Still, one thing that would have made it better would have been the inclusion of Matt Smith. The actor was rumored to be playing a part in the third film of the sequel trilogy, but nothing was every really confirmed, and the movie came and went with no Matt Smith in sight.

But apparently, Smith had meetings about the character he’d be playing and was excited about what it could mean for the future of the franchise. Talking with Josh Horowitz for his podcast Happy Sad Confused, Smith wouldn’t confirm or deny whether he was supposed to be Palpatine in a new form, but he did talk a bit about the process and how he was almost in Star Wars.

Who was Matt Smith supposed to play in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker?

Josh Horowitz asked Matt Smith the right question, mainly because I also assumed he’d be either Palpatine’s son or a clone of him or something of that magnitude. That would have been better than watching J.J. Abrams get to play with his toys, but still, if the character Matt Smith was supposed to play would have factored into the franchise more, what was it that they took from us in changing the movie from what original director Colin Trevorrow had planned?

Hopefully this means that Matt Smith could still, at some point, play a character in the Star Wars universe, but it still hurts me, personally, that an actor I know and love was so close to being in one of my favorite franchises. But maybe it is a good thing that he wasn’t in Rise of Skywalker. We saw how that movie ended up, and I wouldn’t wish that fate on my worse enemy, let alone Matt Smith.

Does this mean that Smith could still show up as whatever that role was supposed to be? (Especially if it was a Palpatine clone?) Maybe! But also I’d take Matt Smith as Grand Admiral Thrawn in a heartbeat, and at this point, I’d rather he wait it out a bit and take a role like that instead of whatever mess they were planning for Rise of Skywalker. Matt Smith deserves to have an amazing role in the Star Wars universe.

I will always be thinking about what could have been. I will always be sad. And I will now always think of ways that Matt Smith could have played a huge role in Star Wars and how that was taken from me. Thanks, J.J. Abrams.

(image: BBC)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.