As with all of their films, there is a veil of secrecy that is encircling Disney & Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: Episode IX. That veil though has been slightly pierced as the studios have unveiled the cast will appear in the final film of this trilogy, and there are a few expected and a few unexpected names among the list.
As reported by StarWars.com, the returning cast of the film includes Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Sutotamo, Billie Lourd, Anthony Daniels and the confirmed return to the franchise of Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian. They will be joined by newcomers Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant.
The big surprises are the confirmed returns of Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher. While Fisher passed away in 2016 she will still play a part in this film as well as many fans hoped she would, but not through the CGI means that some feared, not through unused footage from 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
“We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” said director J.J. 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.”
As for the return of Hamill, this looks to lend credence to fan theories that Luke will return as a Force ghost, after his sacrifice at the end of Star Wars: The Last Jedi that saved the rebellion and inspired the galaxy, potentially to continue training or interacting with Rey much like Obi-Wan Kenobi in the first trilogy. Then again, Abrams and company might have something else in store.
Legendary composer John Williams is also returning to score the ninth film in the franchise, after scoring every single other film in the franchise.
Written by Abrams and Chris Terrio, the film begins production at London’s Pinewood Studios on August 1 with eyes on a December 2019 release.