If we've learned anything from the new Star Wars: Episode IX casting, it's that it pays to know J.J. Abrams. Two actors from the director's past in television recently joined the star-studded cast: Felicity alum Keri Russell and Lost actor Dominic Monaghan. Monaghan, who is also widely known for his role in the Lord of the Rings, started filming on the set of Episode IX in the beginning of September. Details as to how big of a role the fresh cast will bring to the trilogy closer will likely be under wraps until the film's release but Monaghan did share a little bit of information about his character's current place in the film. Here's what he said:
Because J.J. [Abrams] is a friend of mine, he had said to me that at some point I'd get the opportunity to read the script. He said, 'Just be aware of the fact that there are massive sequences in Act 2, there are massive sequences in Act 3, but because we're shooting Act 1 first, I've put you in there and you seem to not be around as much in Act 2 and Act 3, but that's because that's what we're doing first so I want you here, I want you invested. So read the script, but just know there won't be long until there'll be a re-draft of those things and we'll see you a little bit more.' So I read it, and the script is amazing and obviously there's not a lot I can say.
Developing a film as huge as Star Wars often requires a lot of rewrites and reshoots. As of now it seems like the cast and crew are heavily focusing on Act 1, so that's where Dominic Monaghan's character is most prevalently seen in the script. The actor talked about the process while on the podcast Distraction Pieces, where he detailed the process of nabbing the role of a lifetime. Monaghan said that him and J.J. Abrams clicked immediately when the pilot episode of Lost was being filmed back in 2004. They have a lot of the same "geeky" interests, and the actor is well acquainted with Abrams' family as well.
When J.J. Abrams was working on Force Awakens, Dominic Monaghan approached his friend with interest, and J.J. Abrams said he would keep him in mind. For Force Awakens however, he was looking for newcomers, which Abrams found in Daisy Ridley and John Boyega. For The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson took the reins, making it clear to Monaghan that he wouldn't be in the second one either. However, with Abrams returning for Episode IX, this was his chance. Monaghan even took a break from working for a while in hopes of getting the call and needing to be available, thanks to some playful hints from the director. It all thankfully paid off when Disney reached out to him and he got his hands on the script.
While Dominic Monaghan obviously can't say much about the upcoming Star Wars film, he said it has been an emotional process thus far that's included a warm hug from Chewbacca himself. Star Wars: Episode IX will be in theaters on December 20, 2019.