Principal photography wrapped before the holidays, but more secrets keep spilling out of JJ Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The new year brings word that martial artist Iko Uwais, who kicked and sliced his way through Gareth Evans’ Indonesian action hits The Raid and The Raid 2, will appear in Star Wars alongside fellow Raid 2 performers Yayan Ruhian and Cecep Arif Rahman.
The three join John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Lupita Nyong’o, Gwendoline Christie, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, and Harrison Ford in The Force Awakens, which is set for a December 18 opening.
Uwais broke out on the international action scene in 2011’s The Raid as a Jakarta cop who fights his way out of a tenement filled with knife- and gun-wielding thugs using the bone-crunching martial art of pencak silat. He reprised the role in last year’s critically acclaimed sequel alongside Ruhian, whose turn in The Raid as a deadly fighter named Mad Dog was so popular Evans brought him back for The Raid 2 as a completely different character.
Silat fighter Rahman has a shorter history with the Raid franchise but made his mark as a baddie who matches Uwais’ Rama blow for blow in The Raid 2′s brutal kitchen showdown. Evans’ Raid films have been a rich source for new action talent; Uwais and Ruhian also pulled double duty as stunt choreographers on the films and signed with Management 360 on the strength of those pictures. Uwais in particular is eyeing a crossover action career a la Jackie Chan and Jet Li, who made names for themselves in Hong Kong before unleashing their martial artist brands stateside and becoming international stars.
Disney and reps for Uwais and Ruhian declined to comment on the castings, which Twitch was first to report. Here’s a taste of the trio in action in The Raid 2 trailer: