Star Wars: Episode IX will commence filming on August 1, 2018 at the traditional home of Star Wars, London’s Pinewood Studios. J.J. Abrams returns to direct after handing over the reigns to Rian Johnson for one episode. This will be the final installment of the Skywalker saga.
As you might expect from a trilogy of trilogies known as the Skywalker saga, the final episode will feature the return of two Skywalkers, as played by Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, one of whom died on screen and one died in real life. So some movie magic will be required to make this happen.
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.”
It’s unknown what role Mark Hamill’s character of Luke Skywalker will have in the film, but since we’ve seen some pretty remarkable stuff from dead Jedi before, I would not be surprised if he had a few key scenes.
Also officially returning to the saga is Billy Dee Williams, who will reprise his role as Lando Calrissian. This is a fantastic bit of fan service and I hope his role serves the story as well. Anthony Daniels will return as C-3PO, although that character is often CG these days.
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 and Richard E. Grant.
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. Abrams co-wrote the screenplay with Chris Terrio. 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).
Release is scheduled for December 2019. The next question is what will be the title of Episode IX? After “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi” perhaps the title should be “And Hands Them Some Coffee.”
I trust Abrams to do right by the fans and create a worthy ending to the series. It’s tragic that we’ll never get to see what was originally intended, with Princess Leia as the central character, but I think this situation will create a satisfying hand-off to the next generation of Jedi.
It’s truly unfortunate that Rian Johnson was allowed to derail the whole saga with the mess he created in The Last Jedi, but I imagine Abrams will be able to undo some of the damage and creatively work around other parts of it.
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