‘Final installment of the Skywalker saga’
Star Wars: Episode IX — which Lucasfilm calls “the final installment of the Skywalker saga” — begins filming Aug. 1 at London’s Pinewood Studios.
In addition to the extensive returning cast from Episode VII — The Force Awakens and Episode VIII – The Last Jedi — Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, and Billie Lourd — the Episode IX cast also includes British actors Naomi Ackie (Lady Macbeth, Doctor Who) and Richard E. Grant (Logan, Doctor Who), as well as returning classic Star Wars trilogy stars Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels and Billy Dee Williams, returning to the role of Lando Calrissian, as was long rumored.
Carrie Fisher, who died in late 2016, will appear as General Leia Organa via unused footage from The Force Awakens.
“We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” says Episode VII and IX director J.J. Abrams in a Lucasfilm announcement. “Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast, or use a CG character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie, we have found a way to honor Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII.”
Luke Skywalker apparently died allowing the Resistance to escape from Kylo Ren and the First Order in The Last Jedi, so it’s likely Hamill’s return in the final film of this trilogy will continue the tradition of Jedi “Force ghosts” appearing to give advice to the living.
The still-untitled Episode IX is scheduled for a December 2019 release. Composer John Williams is returning to score the film.
The Americans actress Keri Russell, long rumored to be joining the production, was officially announced as a cast member later in the day:
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