The final installment in the Skywalker Saga (yes, that’s exactly what Lucasfilm is saying about Episode IX) begins filming, with JJ Abrams at the helm, on August 1st. Coming just ahead of production starting, LFL has released a cast list for the new and returning members who will show up on the big screen next December.
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, Keri Russell, and Richard E. Grant, 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.
Billy Dee Williams is officially back! As rumored, the scoundrel will finally make his return to the galaxy far, far away and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s also great to see Lupita’s Maz will be back (hopefully in a more prominent role this time), along with Mark Hamill! Considering Luke died at the end of The Last Jedi, some speculated he may not be back for Episode IX, but as we know, Force ghosts have a way a popping back up. The new cast members are Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, and Keri Russell (who had also been rumored for a role a while back). In all, it’s a pretty solid casting line-up and I can’t wait to see what adventures awaits them this time around. As for General Leia…She WILL be playing a part in the story with Carrie Fisher returning:
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.”
I really love this approach. We know from trailers and images, that there were several scenes with Leia in The Force Awakens that never made it into the film (including a whole scene with meeting Maz Kanata). Doing this is a great way to still utilize the character, while honoring Carrie’s memory. I think it’s the most respectful way to include her and now I have to prepare my heart for seeing her on the big screen one more time. Behind the scenes are a bunch of returning names as well:
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).
And we also got the confirmation that John Williams will be returning to score Episode IX, meaning he will have handled the soundtrack for every numbered Star Wars film. While we know Star Wars isn’t ending with this film (there are still nine-ish currently in various stages of development), but LFL is adamant in their verbage throughout the press release that this is the FINAL film in the Skywalker saga. Sounds like a few loose ends should definitely be wrapped up and I’m so excited to see how it goes down.
Star Wars: Episode IX will arrive on December 20, 2019.