J.J. Abrams hasn’t exactly been shy about finding roles in his films for his nearest and dearest. While he didn’t make last Friday’s official Episode IX  casting press release, actor Greg Grunberg was nonetheless recently  spotted sporting a beard, a pretty clear sign that the actor is ready to reprise his role as Black Squadron X-wing pilot Snap Wexley when Episode IX production ramps up.

Grunberg appeared on screen as Temmin “Snap” Wexley in 2015’s The Force Awakens, but the character was originally introduced in the first novel of Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath series: a brash teenager, living on his own with a reprogrammed B-1 battle droid nicknamed “Mr. Bones.” Son of Rebel pilot Nora Wexley, Snap eventually shakes off his abandonment issues and joins his mother’s team of Imp-hunting mercs to traipse across the Galaxy. By Aftermath’s end, Wedge Antilles, smitten with the boy’s mother, has taken the younger Wexley under his wing and fashioned him into an exceptional fighter pilot.

(Via Star Wars News Net) Grunberg all but confirmed to Yahoo! Entertainment at SDCC that Snap Wexley would make another screen appearance, saying this when asked outright if he’d feature in the next Star Wars film:

You know what, we better, or else my wife is gonna kill me for growing the beard. I can’t officially say anything, but, uh, yeah… this is getting itchy, so I’m getting itchy to go over there and do it.”

Grunberg is perhaps best known for his starring roles on television in both Alias and Heroes, but it is his long standing relationship with childhood friend J.J. Abrams that has landed Grunberg roles in the director’s projects dating all the way back to Felicity.

snap wexley

Photo: Paul Archuleta (FilmMagic)

Aside from tagging him to portray Snap Wexley in Star Wars, Abrams has also featured his long-time buddy in his Star Trek productions as well, with Grunberg first providing voice-over work in the 2009 Star Trek reboot as Jim Kirk’s stepfather, and then appearing as a Starfleet Commander in 2016’s Star Trek Beyond.

With Black Squadron having been tasked to seek out aid for the Resistance in the most recent issues of the Poe Dameron comics, it stands to reason good ol’ Snap will be back for the final installment of the Skywalker saga, slated to hit theaters in December, 2019.