Disney has officially removed Matt Smith from the cast list for The Rise of Skywalker. Depending on what side of the fence one falls on, this can be read one of two ways; either Smith is playing some sort of super secret role in the movie and the studio is doing everything they can to try and keep the surprise, or Smith really isn't in the movie and this was all for nothing. Either way, things just got more interesting.

For those who may not be familiar with the situation regarding a galaxy far, far away and the former Doctor Who star, here's a brief refresher. In August 2018, several reputable trade publications reported that Matt Smith had been cast in an unspecified role in Star Wars 9. Often times, this is how actual news makes its way online, so there was no real reason for anyone to think this wasn't true. However, in March of this year, Smith personally stated that he wasn't going to be in the movie at all. And that's when things started getting fishy. Now, when looking at the official webpage on Disney's website for the highly-anticipated sequel, Smith's name is nowhere to be found.

The only new Star Wars cast members listed on the website are Naomi Ackie, who is playing a character named Jannah, Richard E. Grant, who will portray Allegiant General Pryde, and Keri Russell, who is on board as someone known as Zorri Bliss. What's particularly interesting is that former Lost and Lord of the Rings star Dominic Monaghan is also in the movie, in a currently unspecified role, and isn't listed on the website either. Monaghan, unlike Smith, has expressed his excitement and is definitely in the movie, unless he gets cut out. The plot thickens.

Related: Rise of Skywalker Theory: Who Is Zorri Bliss Hunting and Why?

Warning: we're now going to discuss some rumor stuff that may venture into spoiler territory, so for those who don't want to know anything, turn back now. Matt Smith was, at one point, rumored to be playing a version of Emperor Palpatine in the movie. That was long before it was revealed at Star Wars Celebration that the character is indeed coming back. So that rumor seems a bit more tantalizing now. If that were true, it seems like the kind of thing Disney and Lucasfilm would want to try and hide. Perhaps that's why he wasn't at Celebration or mentioned in the recent Vanity Fair cover story?

There was also a rumor that he may be playing a member of the Knights of Ren, who have also been confirmed to return. Maybe both Matt Smith and Dominic Monaghan are doing so and that's why things seem so secretive? Though, Dominic Monaghan was rumored to have shot scenes with Naomi Ackie's Jannah, and it was noted that he was playing somone who is helping the Resistance, though not neccessarily a good guy. For now, all we can do is speculate. We'll ultimately have to wait until Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20 to find out. Feel free to check out the cast list on the official Disney webpage.

Ryan Scott