Part 9 of the Star Wars franchise will begin filming on August the 1st 2018, and its release will mark the end of the Skywalker saga. The saga has long been considered a nine-film story arc by George Lucas and more recently Disney, who has taken over the Star Wars universe. After the three original films and the three prequels, we are now approaching the third and final part of the Star Wars sequels. A sad time for Star Wars fans, but not the end of the universe by any means. So what do we know about the upcoming film and what it will mean for future Star Wars projects?
The article will contain spoilers from the previous sequels (episodes VII & VIII)
The Star Wars Episode IX Cast
The full cast list for Episode IX has been released by Disney with a few surprises for fans to ponder.
We will see the return of Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker. However, it is not clear which form he will take after his Obi-Wan style disappearance in The Last Jedi. He could return as a Force ghost alongside Master Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Anakin Skywalker – or appear in flashback scenes starring Hamill, or maybe Luke is alive and well after all. The latter seems highly unlikely from what we have seen so far. Flashback scenes have not been used in Star Wars to date, but it can’t be ruled out. Our favorite theory is that Luke will return as a Force ghost to advise Rey in her Jedi journey.
A nice surprise for the hardcore fanbase is the return of Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa. The actress sadly passed in December 2016, not long after finishing the filming for The Last Jedi. For Episode IX the producers will use unseen footage originally shot for The Force Awakens to include in the new movie. We assume these will be used to close out Princess Leia’s story arc.
Another triumph for the old school fans will be the return of the Lando Calrissian character, as played by Billy Dee Williams in the original trilogy. The actor will reprise his role as Han Solo’s old friend and Clone War veteran. This is a great move by Disney, and the more old characters involved in the sequels the better, as far as we are concerned. We will also see the return of Anthony Daniels as lovable camp protocol Droid, C3PO. Finnish basketball player, Joonas Suotamo will reprise the role of Chewbacca, after taking over from longtime Chewbacca actor, Peter Mahew, for the sequels.
The main characters from the first two sequels are all scheduled to return as expected. Daisy Ridley (as Rey), Adam Driver (as Kylo Ren), John Boyega (as Finn), Oscar Isaac (as Poe Dameron), Kelly Marie Tran (as Rose Tico) and Domhnall Gleeson (as General Hux).
Several new characters are indicated on the official cast list.
Naomi Ackie is listed in an unnamed role, The black British actress is a further step in the right direction to increase the diversity of the human actors in the Star Wars universe. Ackie is a rising star of the London film scene, having won a BIFA for the most promising newcomer in 2017. Best known for her supporting role as a maid in Lady Macbeth (2016), Ackie also caught the eye of Idris Elba, who was impressed with the young actress after he saw her auditions. Elba cast her in his directorial debut, Yardie (2018). This will be her first big blockbuster casting, and we are excited to find out more about her character and to see how she gets on.
The veteran British actor, Richard E. Grant, also has an unnamed role in Episode IX. Grant began his film career in the cult classic Withnail and I (1987), and went on to achieve a long and impressive filmography including roles in L.A Story (1991), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), Gosford Park (2001), Logan (2017) and as Izembaro in season 6 of the HBO series Game of Thrones. We have no idea who Grant will play in the new Star Wars movie, but as you can see from our cover montage we have added Grant in a Grand Moff uniform, and why not?
Release Date for Star Wars: Episode IX
The current release date for Star Wars: Episode IX is December the 19th, 2019 in the UK, and a day later on December the 20th in the U.S. The release date was originally May 2019, but was moved to the traditional Christmas release slot after delays in pre-production, with the start of filming delayed from January 2018 and will now commence in August 2018.
J.J Abrams will return to direct the final film of the trilogy, to replace Colin Trevorrow who was brought in for the final film but has since left due to artistic differences.
Kathleen Kennedy who produced the first two sequels has faced a lot of fan criticism and backlash for the movies, and recently rumors abound she will be replaced in the final film. Some sources even report George Lucas could return for the final film, but these are unsubstantiated at the moment. We will keep you posted.
Composer John Williams will complete his work on the entire saga with the Episode IX score. This will be his last soundtrack for a Star Wars movie.
Star Wars: Episode IX – Plot
Information on the actual storyline for the final installment is thin on the ground at the moment. We can expect an official synopsis, and a teaser trailer sometime towards the end of 2018.
Tragically, the death of Carrie Fisher has completely changed the original plan for the trilogy. With Han Solo the central figure in The Force Awakens, and Luke Skywalker central to The Last Jedi, it was planned to center the final film on Princess Leia. The footage to be used from The Force Awakens will not be enough to build a deep performance so we can image the entire project has been rewritten to some extent.
Whatever the story, we are eager to follow this final adventure in the Skywalker saga. We will keep you updated as we find out information. Please feel free to add your comments below.