Star Wars: Episode IX cast announced, including Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill


The finale of Lucasfilm’s ongoing Star Wars trilogy will include appearances by Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams and the late Carrie Fisher.

Update July 27, 2018: Keri Russell will be in Star Wars: Episode IX after all, following her noticeable absence from the official casting press release.

Russell’s deal wasn’t officially closed in time for Lucasfilm to include her in the announcement. Variety reports that her deal finally closed today, and Russell will be in Episode IX.

Star Wars fans still have to wait more than a year to see how Rey, Finn and Poe’s adventure ends, but anticipation is already high. No doubt eager to move on from the misfire that was Solo, Disney and Lucasfilm have started to rev up the publicity campaign for Episode IX.

Late Friday afternoon, the companies sent out a press release revealing the movie’s full cast. In addition to leads Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Kelly Marie Tran and Domhnall Gleeson will reprise their respective supporting roles. The announcement also lists Lupita Nyong’o, suggesting that she return in a major capacity after only appearing in The Last Jedi as a cameo.

The release contains two notable omissions. Gwendoline Christie’s absence all but confirms that Captain Phasma is, indeed, dead. And the absence of Keri Russell, whose casting was previously announced, suggests that her role will be small.

Joining the ensemble are British actors Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant. Ackie appeared in the Doctor Who episode “Face the Raven”, though she’s perhaps best known for playing Anna in last year’s fiery costume drama Lady Macbeth. Grant appeared in Doctor Who and Downton Abbey, as well as a number of films ranging from Gosford Park to Logan.

However, the announcement’s most striking detail concerns the return of several original cast members. First, as we learned earlier, Billy Dee Williams will play Lando Calrissian for the first time since George Lucas’s original trilogy. Also back is Mark Hamill — a surprise considering Luke died at the end of The Last Jedi. Will Episode IX feature flashbacks? Or will Luke appear as an apparition through the Force, à la Yoda in TLJ? Cue the rampant speculation.

Lastly, the late Carrie Fisher will appear using extra footage shot during The Force Awakens. It remains to be seen how the filmmakers can integrate the old footage into the new story, but this seems like a satisfactory and respectful solution — short of resurrecting the actress, of course.

“We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” said director J.J. Abrams in a statement. “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.”

Rounding out the cast are Billie Lourd, Anthony Daniels and Joonas Suotamo. Abrams co-wrote the screenplay with Chris Terrio, and John Williams will once again compose the score.

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Star Wars: Episode IX begins filming at London’s Pinewood Studios on August 1, 2018. It is scheduled for release in December 2019.