While the eyes of the world are currently on Disney's takeover of Fox, the entertainment behemoth continues work on its biggest projects, especially a certain galactic franchise we all know well... The next Star Wars movie is scheduled for release at the end of 2019, and details about the film are beginning to emerge — starting with the cast.
We already knew that Billy Dee Williams would play Lando Calrissian again in this ninth installment. Today, we learned that he won't be the only actor from the original trilogy. Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and Anthony Daniels (C3-PO) will also be on the bill along with, surprise surprise, Carrie Fisher (Leia Skywalker).
While many are left wondering whether Luke will appear only in flashbacks or through the Force, it's the presence of Carrie Fisher which really intrigues fans. J.J. Abrams – the director of The Force Awakens, who is also in charge of this latest installment –, explains how Fisher, who passed away in December 2016, is able to appear in the film:
"We desperately loved Carrie Fisher. [...] 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."
This statement has caused fans to worry as much as it has reassured them. How will the footage filmed in 2015 for The Force Awakens be incorporated into the new plot? Whatever happens, we're happier with this decision than we would have been with a freaky, computer-generated Leia, which wouldn't have been very respectful to the memory of this well-loved actress.
Meanwhile, most of the other actors from Episodes VII and VIII are back. We find Daisy Ridley (Rey), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose), Joonas Suotamo (the new Chewbacca) and Billie Lourd (who plays secondary character, Kaydel Ko Connix).
New faces include Naomi Ackie, a young, little-known actress who appears in The Young Lady, alongside Richard E. Grant (who recently played the scientist who tortured our dear white Caliban in Logan), and the excellent Keri Russell (The Americans). The roles they will play aren't yet known, but things are looking good for now.
Finally, for anyone wanting to know: yes, John Williams will compose the soundtrack for the blockbuster. Reassured?
Star Wars: Episode IX will be released in December 2019.