The latest episode of Star Wars begins filming this Wednesday (Aug. 1) at Pinewood Studios in London, England. Fan favorite director J.J. Abrams, who co-wrote the screenplay with Chris Terrio, is returning to helm Star Wars: Episode IX, and that’s just the beginning of the good news involving this latest film.
Fans who feared Mark Hamill might not be back as Luke Skywalker can rest easy. Not only is he back, but Billy Dee Williams, who played Lando Calrissian in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983) will also be reprising his role.
And even though Carrie Fisher passed away in 2016 just after filming the 2017 release, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Abrams has confirmed that there is enough unreleased footage to include Carrie as Leia Organa in Star Wars: Episode IX.
“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.”
Other returning cast members include Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd and Anthony Daniels as C-3PO. Joining the cast are Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant.
Composer John Williams, who has scored every Star Wars film in the saga since the original 1977 film A New Hope, will also be back on board.
The film is scheduled to release sometime in December 2019.