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Cast for Star Wars: Episode IX announced; filming begins next week

Here we go again. Production is set to kick off on STAR WARS: EPISODE IX at London’s Pinewood Studios on August 1, 2018, and StarWars.com have just announced the official cast for the upcoming sequel. As expected, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joona Suotamo, and Billie Lourd will all be returning, along with Mark Hamill (force ghost!), Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, and, somewhat surprisingly, Carrie Fisher. More on that below. Naomi Ackie (Doctor Who) and Richard E. Grant (LOGAN) will also be joining the cast, but the nature of their characters is currently a mystery. Keri Russell was in early talks for a role in the film several weeks ago, and although she wasn't mentioned in the press-release, Variety's Justin Kroll took to Twitter to say that her deal only just closed and that she will be in the movie.

When Carrie Fisher tragically passed away a year prior to the release of STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, there was a question of just how Lucasfilm would address it in EPISODE IX. There were rumours that Leia could be brought back as a CG character, but Lucasfilm quickly shut that down; so just how will Leia be making an appearance in the upcoming J.J. Abrams film? Well, it seems that they'll be using previously unreleased footage which was originally shot for STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS. "We desperately loved Carrie Fisher," Abrams said. "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 far to early to guess just how this previously shot Leia footage will factor into EPISODE IX, but I'm grateful that Carrie Fisher will still have a part to play in the final installment of the STAR WARS sequel trilogy.

J.J. Abrams will be helming STAR WARS: EPISODE IX, and also co-wrote the screenplay with Chris Terrio. John Williams will also be returning to provide the score for the film, but he's previously suggested that it could very well be his swan song in the STAR WARS franchise. "It will round out a series of nine," Williams said. "That will be quite enough for me."

STAR WARS: EPISODE IX will hit theaters on December 20, 2019.

Source: Star Wars

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