Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill back for Star Wars Episode IX – Moviehole
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Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill back for Star Wars Episode IX

Billy Dee Williams, Richard E.Grant, Naomi Ackie and Keri Russell also onboard

Lucasfilm, via the official “Star Wars” site, has announced the cast of “Star Wars Episode IX” – and yep, there’s some pleasant surprises in there.

Firstly, the question of ‘what will they do with Leia?’ (now that Carrie Fisher has sadly left us) has been answered. According to the presser, and solidifying the studio’s previous comments that they would not recast or use CGI to fill that role, Leia will return in the film via unused footage from “Star Wars : The Force Awakens”. It would seem there’s enough cutting-room floor footage of the princess turned general to give her a proper send off.

Also returning for the new film, due, and just as surprisingly, is Mark Hamill – whose Luke Skywalker seemingly evaporated at the end of last year’s “Star Wars : The Last Jedi”. He’ll seemingly reappear – just as fellow Jedi’s Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi did after their deaths – as a ‘Force Ghost’ to guide Rey (Daisy Ridley).

Recent reports of Billy Dee Williams reprising Lando Calrissian for the film have also been confirmed.

Keri Russell has also officially signed on for the movie. The actress, reuniting with her “Felicity” and “Mission : Impossible III” sidekick Abrams, was previously rumoured to be in talks.

The movie, which begins its shoot next week in London, will also feature popular British actor Richard E.Grant, seen recently in “Logan”, and Naomi Ackie (“Lady Macbeth”).

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. Abrams co-wrote the screenplay with Chris Terrio.

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 Episode IX are Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, and Keri Russell, 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.

The role of Leia Organa will once again be played by Carrie Fisher, using previously unreleased footage shot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. “We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” says Abrams. “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.”

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 Episode IX.

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).

Release is scheduled for December 2019.

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