Lucasfilm issued a press release Friday about the upcoming production of Star Wars: Episode IX. But within the details of returning castmembers like Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac were two surprising inclusions.
Mark Hamill and the late Carrie Fisher will return as Skywalker siblings Luke and Leia. Where Luke’s death was merely a story point easily countered by the existence of Force spirits like Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original trilogy, allowing Hamill to return, Fisher’s tragic death in 2016 altered any plans filmmakers may have had for Leia Organa going forward. But according to the press release at StarWars.com, footage from Fisher’s performance in Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be used to bring the character back to life.
“Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us,” said director J.J. Abrams in the press release. “We were never going to recast, or use a CG character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie [Lourd], 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.”
Original trilogy actors Anthony Daniel and Billy Dee Williams also return as C-3PO and Lando Calrissian while newcomers Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant join the cast, which also includes Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, and Lourd. Curiously, Abrams’s frequent collaborator Keri Russell was not listed among the group of performers despite reports she is talks to play an action-heavy role in the film. According to Variety, the actor just closed her deal.
With production set to commence on August 1st, Star Wars: Episode IX is set for release on 20th, 2019.
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