Star Wars: Episode IX will begin filming at London’s Pinewood Studios on August 1, 2018. J.J. Abrams returns to direct the final installment of the Skywalker saga–read that again, final installment of the Skywalker saga–which he co-wrote with Chris Terrio. But the bigger story here is the new and returning cast, which not only includes the ever-cool Billy Dee Williams as the iconic Lando Calrissian, but also returning veterans Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, and the late Carrie Fisher. More on those additions in a moment.
Other 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. Also joining the cast of Episode IX are Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant and Keri Russell, the latter of whom will indeed be joining the film as her deal just closed. Composer John Williams, who has scored every chapter in the Star Wars saga since 1977’s Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, will return to a galaxy far, far away with Episode IX.
Here’s what Abrams had to say about bringing Fisher back in a posthumous performance of Leia Organa using previously unreleased footage shot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens:
“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.”
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).