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Having starred in such films as A Knight’s Tale, The Legend of Zorro, The Illusionist, and many others, English actor Rufus Sewell has a career built on the compelling characters he’s portrayed. Sewell certainly seems familiar when he makes an appearance on screens large and small. Many know him from the more recent hit show on Amazon Prime, The Man in the High Castle.

How did things end for his ruthless character John Smith? What’s next for the talented actor with a real gift for playing mostly dark, complex characters?

Rufus Sewell plays a ruthless SS officer

Rufus Sewell attends the LA Premiere of Roadside Attraction's "Judy."
Rufus Sewell | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Based on the novel by Philip K. Dick, Emmy award-winning The Man in the High Castle depicts a dystopian America in 1962 that lost to Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in World War II. John Smith, a U.S. Army Captain turned Nazi SS officer, is among the most ruthless characters on the show that ended in 2019 with its fourth season.

Sewell portrays John Smith as the perfect family man and administrator, loyal to his country and the Nazi party. Following the surrender of the United States in World War II, he joined the SS and quickly rose through the ranks.

Achieving the rank of Obergruppenführer, Smith was assigned to looking into American resistance efforts in New York and he subsequently moved his family to Manhattan. He was later promoted to Oberst-Gruppenführer, and he was the first American to hold the rank, and later to Reichsmarschall of North America.

Devoted to his wife and children, the Nazi leader strictly follows the rules so he can best protect his country. Smith prided himself on protecting the Reich and acquiring the films that show different realities created by the Man in the High Castle.

When Nazi rules put his family in a precarious position, Smith defies Reich rules. Cunning and ruthless, Smith is capable of horrific acts when it comes to saving his son. Sewell’s Smith was a complex character with his own moral code.

Sewell said in an interview with Newsweek that Smith wasn’t a bad man. The actor explained that he chose to play him because he was a man whose darkness has been unleashed because of the dark rule of the Reich.

How John Smith’s story ended on ‘The Man in the High Castle’

Some of the events in the final episode of The Man in the High Castle will be revealed so a spoiler alert is in effect.

In the final episode of the series, an event takes place that shakes up the world. Thanks to intel gathered by Helen Smith (Chelah Horsdal) and Juliana Crain (Alexa Davalos), the Resistance managed to stop a Nazi train headed for the Poconos following Japan’s decision to end their occupation in North America.

Smith, who’d just been made Reichsführer after the previous one was exiled, and his wife were on the train. An explosion engineered by the Resistance blows the train off the tracks. 

Helen is killed in the crash and Smith takes his own life in the woods with only his long-standing enemy Juliana to hear his final words. As Juliana makes her way back to the Resistance-occupied mines, the opening portal reveals on her visions realized. 

Men, women, and children from everywhere enter her reality. Their faces are kept from the audience through the bright light from the portal and, according to Entertainment Weekly, the ending is left deliberately ambiguous so viewers can speculate on what the ending meant.

What’s next for Rufus Sewell?

Sewell moved on to two projects that are currently in post-production. 

Florian Zeller’s The Father, adapted from the award-winning stage play, features a stellar cast alongside Sewell including Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman, Mark Gatiss, Olivia Williams, and Imogen Poots. Not much is known about Sewell’s role in the upcoming feature film.

According to Deadline, Sewell is also starring alongside Kaya Scodelario in Agatha Christie Limited’s The Pale Horse for BBC One. The latest adaptation for TV of the famous work has Sewell playing Mark Easterbrook in the two-part series that’s currently in post-production.

Amazon Prime Video is on board as the U.S. co-production partner which is good news for American audiences anticipating the series. According to James Prichard who’s the CEO and executive producer of Agatha Christie Limited, this particular adaptation is unique. He says it’s a different take on the tale his great grandmother penned. He said with a cast like Rufus Sewell and Bertie Carvel, it will be a highly entertaining drama.

Good news for fans of the talented Sewell. Now that The Man in the High Castle is over, he still has some exciting projects coming their way.