Star Wars 9 will begin filming at London's Pinewood Studios on August 1, 2018, Lucasfilm has announced. J.J. Abrams returns to direct what is being billed as the final installment of the Skywalker saga. He previously directed the very successful The Force Awakens and took over duties for Episode IX once Colin Trevorrow left the director's chair. Abrams co-wrote the screenplay for the final chapter in the new trilogy with Chris Terrio (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice).

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. Joining the cast of Star Wars 9 are Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant, who will be joined by veteran Star Wars actors Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, and Billy Dee Williams, who will reprise his role as Lando Calrissian. This confirms that Luke Skywalker will be back in some way, shape or form. Most likely a Force ghost, but who knows what J.J. Abrams has in store for us?

Perhaps most importantly, the role of Leia Organa will once again be played by Carrie Fisher, who tragically passed away prior to the release of The Last Jedi. This will be accomplished by using previously unreleased footage shot for The Force Awakens. Lucasfilm previously stated that they weren't going to recast the role or use CGI, like they did for Tarkin in Rogue One, to bring Leia back. Here's what J.J. Abrams had to say about it.

"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."

Lucasfilm has a big hill to climb. Even though The Last Jedi was a major box office hit, Rian Johnson's tale turned out to be by far the most divisive entry in the history of the franchise. Composer John Williams, who has scored every chapter in the Star Wars saga since 1977's A New Hope, will return to a galaxy far, far away with Star Wars Episode IX. Both Rogue One and Solo were scored by different composers, but Williams will finish the journey he started all those years ago.

Star Wars 9 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). This story is developing and we'll be sure to keep you up to date as any new information is made available. The movie is scheduled to be released on December 20, 2019. This news comes to us courtesy of StarWars.com.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott