Watch what happens closely, cause Episode IX is starting to get really interesting. Right before the weekend got underway, Disney and Lucasfilm announced the official cast and production start date for Star Wars 9, which is this Wednesday, August 1. Among the many new details released, it was revealed that three new cast members had been added to the movie. Keri Russell was officially confirmed, alongside Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant. While the Russell and Ackie characters haven't been revealed, we now have some hot and steamy rumors that Richard E. Grant is playing a new villain. Well, new to the big screen side of things at least

Comic books and other novels have resurrected Grand Admiral Thrawn from the Legends side of the Star Wars universe and turned him canon. The character also appeared on the hit Disney XD animated series Star Wars Rebels. Now it is believed that Thrawn will be making his first ever big screen appearance in Star Wars 9. And he will be played by Richard E. Grant.

Artist concept paintings and casting calls have leaked, and point towards a new villain in Star Wars 9 with the codename Zander. This villain is playing a huge role in Star Wars 9. And the role requires the actor to undergo a huge transformation. This has all lead into the speculation that this is definitely Thrawn, and that Richard E. Grant is playing him.

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Pro snoopers with an ear to the ground and an eye for Star Wars leaks have been quick to put two and two together. Richard E. Grant played Dr. Zander Rice in Logan. So Lucasfilm is using that as the codename for his character. Richard E. Grant, who was always a little goofy in his younger career, has grown into quite the Star Wars villain in his old age. He could be a descendant of Grand Moff Tarkin. But some intrepid fans have pointed out that when Richard E. Grant goes blue, he certainly has that Thrawn look we've seen in paintings, art and the animated Rebels series. Match that with the fact that the actor has to undergo an intense makeover, and we may have our answer.

Secrets continue to leak out of the Star Wars camp as shooting gears up for this Wednesday. Some preliminary shooting has already happened according to some reports. One of the new tidbits to float out of the sawdust and debris as the crew gets the Millennium Falcon back in shape is that Rey and Kylo Ren will be having a meeting inside the cockpit of this iconic ship. Kylo Ren will definitely be stepping back inside his father's famed vehicle. This is said to be a nod back to a deleted scene that had Kylo Ren and the Snowtroopers of the Starkiller Base investigating the vessel after it had landed on the gigantic galaxy destroying weapon in The Force Awakens.

In further news, it has seemingly been confirmed that Kylo Ren will now be known as Supreme Leader Ren throughout the duration of the sequel, as was hinted at in The Last Jedi. It was confirmed in the big Lucasfilm press release that Mark Hamill is returning as Luke Skywalker, old Leia footage is being edited into the movie, leftover from The Force Awakens, and Lando, lover of all species, will be back to help the Resistance in their fight against the First Order. Star Wars 9 will continue shooting throughout the fall, so we can expect to hear a lot more in the months ahead.