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When it comes to fandom power couples, J.J. Abrams and Greg Grunberg have one of the longest and healthiest relationships in the business of genre-related entertainment. The two have been friends since childhood, and Grunberg has appeared in almost every one of Abrams’s productions in a major (or minor) role, from 1996’s The Pallbearer to the wildly successful 2009 reboot of Star Trek, which helped win the writer-director the gig of relaunching the Star Wars franchise with The Force Awakens.
Naturally, Grunberg also had a small role in that record-shattering 2015 film, playing Temmin “Snap” Wexley, a Resistance flyboy trained by none other than ace Rebel pilot Wedge Antilles. Those formative experiences gave Snap the skills to head up a recon flight that helped his Resistance allies bring down the First Order’s seemingly impregnable Starkiller Base.
Snap sat out the Rian Johnson-helmed The Last Jedi, but the fact that Abrams is back in the director’s chair for the yet-to-be titled Episode IX raised speculation that we’ll see Grunberg back in the cockpit as well. Speaking with Yahoo Entertainment at San Diego Comic-Con earlier today as part of an all-star panel for the new documentary From the Bridge, the 52-year-old actor offered an unofficial confirmation that he’ll be part of whatever endgame Abrams has in mind for the concluding chapter in the newest Star Wars trilogy.
“You know what — we’d better or else my wife is going to kill me for growing a beard,” Grunberg says, scratching the facial hair that’s a signature part of Snap’s look. “I can’t officially say anything, but this is getting itchy, and I’m getting itchy to go over there and do it.”
By “over there,” Grunberg means England, where Episode IX begins production this month. Every Star Wars movie is a matter of intense speculation, but the latest film is bound to be the most closely watched, given the precarious position in which The Last Jedi left all of our heroes, including Rey, Finn, and, of course, Leia Organa. (Carrie Fisher died not long after completing production on Jedi, and Leia’s passing is bound to be addressed in Episode IX.) It’s worth noting that Johnson’s movie left Star Wars fandom in a somewhat precarious position as well, with detractors making their displeasure known online — to the point where one of the movie’s stars, Kelly Marie Tran, opted to leave social media.
While The Force Awakens didn’t seem to be greeted with the same level of vitriol, Grunberg says that he’s heard complaints about Abrams’s movie as well and, no doubt, will get an earful after Episode IX premieres in December 2019. “I get it all the time. I’m trying to watch my son play baseball, and someone goes, ‘You know what I thought J.J. should have done?’ I’m like, ‘Can I just watch my kid?’ It comes along with the territory.”
Star Wars: Episode IX flies into theaters on Dec. 20, 2019.
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