Lucasfilm has officially announced the cast of Episode IX! In an article from StarWars.com, they revealed both new and returning cast members as well as the date filming begins!
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.
One thing to note is that the article descirbes Episode IX as the “final installment of the Skywalker Saga.” Is this Lucasfilm telling us this will be the last episodic film? My guess is yes but only time will tell.
Most interestingly, the article explained that Carrie Fisher will be returning with unused footage from Episode VII. This came as a huge surprise to me and I’m glad they found a way to include her in this film.
J.J. Abrams explained the decision:
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.”
John Williams is also returning to create the film’s score. The music is one of my favorite aspects of Star Wars so hearing this news got me really excited.