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Matt Smith Teases Who He Was Supposed To Play In Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker

Most fans will instantly think of "Doctor Who" when hearing Matt Smith's name, but the British star has branched out into other impressive franchises since leaving that long-running science fiction series in 2014. While Scottish actor Peter Capaldi picked up the mantle of the time-traveling hero after his departure, Matt Smith jumped into other projects — even starring as Prince Phillip in the first two seasons of Netflix's critically acclaimed series, "The Crown." He also appeared in "Terminator: Genisys" as Skynet's physical body, and he'll next be seen as a Marvel villain named Loxias Crown in Sony's anti-hero vampire movie, "Morbius."

Back in 2018, Smith's name was also tied to "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" (via Variety), though, it was never officially confirmed who the actor was set to play in the film. The sequel trilogy is, of course, incredibly divisive among fans, and "The Rise of Skywalker" is no different. J.J. Abrams came aboard the film after original director Colin Trevorrow left the project, and the film took the franchise in an unexpected direction.

At the center of the film is, notably, the resurrection of Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) — a twist that understandably puts the entire galaxy on edge in "Rise of Skywalker." While he didn't end up appearing in the film either, Matt Smith has hinted that the role he almost played in "Rise of Skywalker" was tied to Emperor Palpatine.

Did Matt Smith almost play Emperor Palpatine's son?

During his recent appearance on Josh Horowitz's "Happy Sad Confused" podcast, Matt Smith very briefly discussed how close he came to being in "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker." Asked about his connection to the divisive film, Smith explained, "We were close to me being in it, but then it never quite happened. The thing they were thinking of me for, eventually the part became, you know, it became obsolete and they didn't need it, so I never got to be in 'Star Wars.'" From there, Horowitz asked him if the role was for Emperor Palpatine's son, and with a sly grin, Smith quietly responded, "I could not possibly say."

The character in question only briefly appears in a flashback in "Rise of Skywalker," where he's played by actor Billy Howle, but Smith's comments suggest that the role almost played a much bigger role in the film's story. "It was a pretty groovy thing, like it was a really groovy part and concept. It was a big thing," the actor said, calling the role "a big story detail, like a, you know, transformative 'Star Wars' story detail. But it never quite got over the line."

It's a shame the former "Doctor Who" star didn't get the chance to jump into the "Star Wars" universe, but he revealed in the same interview that he's still open to the idea of playing the mystery role, saying, "Maybe I can come back, you never know."

Considering that Palpatine is experimenting with clones in "The Rise of Skywalker," it wouldn't take much work for Disney and Lucasfilm to introduce Smith as a different version of the villain one day. In fact, with so many live-action "Star Wars" projects in development for Disney+ right now, it's entirely possible that Matt Smith could get to bring the mysterious role to life in a future TV series or film.