J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars Episode IX is gearing-up for the start of principal photography at Pinewood Studios on 1 August. That means all the casting pieces are beginning to fall into place. It’s no surprise the likes of Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac will be returning, but it’s great to see Mark Hamill will be back as Luke Skywalker (spoiler: he bit the big one at the end of The Last Jedi). It’s also wonderful that Billy Dee Williams’ Lando Calrissian will put-in an appearance this time around. Will the galaxy’s favourite scoundrel try to take back ownership of Millennium Falcon?
The big news is the late Carrie Fisher will also return. Abrams and co. will use previously shot footage to make sure there is a ‘truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga’.
Here’s the official dope from StarWars.com:
Star Wars: Episode IX will begin filming at London’s Pinewood Studios on August 1, 2018. J.J. Abrams returns to direct the final installment of the Skywalker saga. Abrams co-wrote the screenplay with Chris Terrio.
Returning cast members include Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, and Billie Lourd. Joining the cast of Episode IX are Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, and Keri Russell, who will be joined by veteran Star Wars actors Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, and Billy Dee Williams, who will reprise his role as Lando Calrissian.
The role of Leia Organa will once again be played by Carrie Fisher, using previously unreleased footage shot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. “We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” says Abrams. “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.”
Composer John Williams, who has scored every chapter in the Star Wars saga since 1977’s A New Hope, will return to a galaxy far, far away with Episode IX.
Star Wars: Episode IX will be produced by Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Michelle Rejwan, and executive produced by Callum Greene and Jason McGatlin. The crew includes Dan Mindel (Director of Photography), Rick Carter and Kevin Jenkins (Co-Production Designers), Michael Kaplan (Costume Designer), Neal Scanlan (Creature and Droid FX), Maryann Brandon and Stefan Grube (Editors), Roger Guyett (VFX Supervisor), Tommy Gormley (1st AD), and Victoria Mahoney (2nd Unit Director).
Star Wars Episode IX Release is scheduled for December 2019.