Star Wars 9 will officially begin shooting in January 2018 under the direction of Colin Trevorrow. As of right now, the working title is Episode IX, but there are plenty of bits of Star Wars 9 news swirling around the interwebs today. Episode IX is currently in pre-production as we start to get a better look at The Last Jedi through some new behind-the-scenes videos, along with information on new characters, thanks to the incredibly informative Vanity Fair article that is just hitting the news stands.
Vanity Fair is the first to officially report that Episode IX will begin shooting in January 2018 to get ready for its official May 24, 2019 release date. This will be the first Star Wars episodic movie to open in May since Return of the Jedi in May of 1983. Whether this is a nod to both movies being the third installment of their respective trilogies is anybody's guess, but the amount of detail and research that has been going into these new Star Wars movies has been so intense that it's hard to believe it's sheer coincidence.
The Vanity Fair article also sheds some light on Carrie Fisher's involvement in Episode IX. It is well known that Luke Skywalker was barely in The Force Awakens and that he will have a large part in The Last Jedi. The Force Awakens was more of Han Solo's movie, while The Last Jedi will be Skywalker's movie, and it was assumed, apparently even by Fisher, that Star Wars 9 would be Leia's movie. As it turns out, she was correct. While speaking to Vanity Fair, Lucasfilm president Katherine Kennedy talks about Fisher's last day on the set of The Last Jedi. She explains.
"The minute she finished, she grabbed me and said, 'I'd better be at the forefront of IX!' Because Harrison was front and center on VII, and Mark is front and center on VIII. She thought IX would be her movie. And it would have been."
Fisher's death didn't change anything on The Last Jedi, but it turned out to have a massive effect on Episode IX. Kennedy and director Trevorrow had to switch from the grieving process and jump into how to make the correct choices for the next movie without Fisher. Fans who are worried that Lucasfilm will take inspiration from Rogue One and expect a CGI version of Fisher have nothing to worry about. Kennedy says.
"We don't have any intention of beginning a trend of re-creating actors who are gone."
Although Fisher won't officially be in Episode IX, there will most definitely be plenty of her story left to tell and that should be comforting to fans. Episode IX will hit theater on May 24, 2019 and fans will have plenty of Star Wars to make that wait go by a lot quicker. The Last Jedi will be here in December and the Han Solo Movie will be here in May of 2018.