When is Star Wars: Episode IX out in cinemas? UK release date, cast and plot

When is the concluding film released? Who’s starring in it? And what happened to its director? Check out our full guide now

Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (LucasFilm, HF)

It’s fair to say that Star Wars Episode IX is one of the most eagerly-anticipated movies in history, with the upcoming film set to cap off the Skywalker saga after decades of onscreen storytelling.

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However, despite that we still know very little about to expect from The Last Jedi’s sequel, which is being kept under wraps for the time being ahead of its release at the end of 2019.


For now, here are the key details you DO need to know about what to expect from Star Wars Episode IX.


When does Star Wars Episode IX come out in cinemas?

The next instalment of the Star Wars saga will be released in UK cinemas on 19th December 2019, returning to the modern films’ traditional Christmas release following spin-off Solo: A Star Wars Story’s May outing this year.

Originally, Episode IX was set to be released in summer 2019, but it was delayed due to behind-the-scenes issues (see below), and the new release date means fans will have to wait longer than ever between films– a full 19 months – before they get their next fix of Jedi action.


What does Star Wars: Episode IX look like?

While we have yet to see any footage or official stills, director JJ Abrams did share a candid behind-the-scenes snap of the last day of filming in February 2019, giving as an idea of at least one location (another desert world?) and the costumes sported by John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac in the new film.


Who’s directing the next Star Wars film?

JJ Abrams Star Wars
Star Wars Episode IX will be brought to the screen by JJ Abrams, who helmed The Force Awakens in 2015 and successfully brought the franchise back to cinemas.

“With The Force Awakens, JJ delivered everything we could have possibly hoped for, and I am so excited that he is coming back to close out this trilogy,” said Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy in a statement.

Originally the film was set to be directed by Jurassic World’s Colin Trevorrow, but the writer/director left the project last year leading Abrams to step in and the film’s release date be pushed back a few months.

It’s unclear why Trevorrow left – a statement from LucasFilm claimed that all parties had “mutually chosen to part ways” – though he has recently commented on the experience, revealing that he’d pitched his story to both George Lucas and Mark Hamill.

“I don’t want to talk too much about it because I don’t want to affect the way that fans get to see these films,” Trevorrow told Empire.

“When we were kids, these movies came to us from far away. They were a gift. And the more we talk about how they’re made, the more it reveals that they’re just movies. But they’re not just movies, they’re more than that.

“Beyond that, I got the opportunity to tell a story that is a celebration of everything I believe in, I got to tell it to George Lucas and I got to tell it to Luke Skywalker, and those are experiences I will cherish for the rest of my life.”


Who wrote Star Wars Episode IX?

Trevorrow and his frequent collaborator Derek Connolly wrote the first draft of the script, before Harry Potter and the Cursed Child scribe Jack Thorne was hired to rewrite it.

Since Abrams took over, he has reportedly thrown out the first script and written a new one with Academy award-winning screenwriter Chris Terrio, best known for his work on Argo, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League.


Who stars in Episode IX?

Daisy Ridley as Rey and John Boyega as Finn in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Lucasfilm, HF)

Daisy Ridley as Rey and John Boyega as Finn in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Lucasfilm, HF)Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Kelly Marie Tran, Domnhall Gleeson and Lupita Nyong’o are all confirmed to return for the final film, with the likes of Joonas Suotomo (Chewbacca) and Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) in tow.

But the big news among the returning cast is the inclusion of Carrie Fisher whose character General Organa (better known as Princess Leia) will play a role in Episode IX thanks to previously unused footage shot for The Force Awakens. The late actress will appear in the film – with the blessing of her daughter, Billie Lourd – alongside original trilogy stars Mark Hamill and Billy Dee Williams, who was long rumoured to be reprising his role as Lando Calrissian.

Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, also told RadioTimes.com Fisher would approve her appearance in the film: Something tells me she’d get a real kick out of the fact she had a hit movie years after she left us,” he said. “That was just her.”  You can read our full interview with Hamill here.

Fisher’s brother Todd has also said that the final product will “look like it was meant to be”.“There’s a lot of minutes of footage,” Fisher told Good Morning America. “I don’t mean just outtakes. This is unused, new content that could be woven into the storyline.

“That’s what’s going to give everybody such a great kick. It’s going to look like it was meant to be. Like it was shot yesterday. We’re not allowed to talk about the details of anything. But we’re thrilled at what’s been done.”

Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (Sky, LucasFilm, HF)
Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (Sky, LucasFilm, HF)

It’s also been revealed that The Americans star Keri Russell is playing a new female character with “action-heavy fight scenes” and will be joined by fellow franchise newcomers Richard E Grant, Naomi Ackie and Lost’s Dominic Monaghan.

We have no word about Ackie, Russell or Grant’s roles, though the latter has shot down rumours he could be playing fan-favourite Star Wars character Grand Admiral Thrawn.

“I hadn’t thought of it like that, but the character is just mine!” he told RadioTimes.com. “I don’t know about the action figure or whether there will be one, but this is pretty amazing.”

News also broke a while ago that Doctor Who star Matt Smith was joining the film in an undisclosed “key role,” which plenty of fans were quick to theorise about – but Smith has now stated that rumours of his inclusion were untrue, and that he won’t be in the film after all.

“As far as I can tell, I’m definitely not [in it],” he said in an interview with LA Times – though we’re not so sure he’s telling the truth…


What will happen in Star Wars Episode IX?

Domhnall Gleeson and Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Lucasfilm, Disney, HF)

Domhnall Gleeson and Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Lucasfilm, Disney, HF)The plot of the film is currently a mystery, though fans can expect the conclusion of the Resistance’s battle against the First Order as well as Rey’s complex relationship with tortured villain Kylo Ren.
In the meantime, a few of the actors have hinted as to what we might expect.

“The secrecy is definitely worth it,” Grant told us. “If you’re a Star Wars fan, and I am, then knowing what’s coming in this is quite something.

“I absolutely understand why they’re so secretive about it, because it’s very exciting.”
“What was brilliant [about The Last Jedi] was that it was unexpected,” Domnhall Gleeson, who plays First Order senior Officer General Hux told RadioTimes.com.

“And I’ve got a feeling that what JJ does may also be unexpected.

“I wasn’t expecting [Hux’s comedy] to be the way it went in VIII, at all. It really surprised me. And I’d say rather than played for laughs, it was written for laughs. We did it with an eye on the comic elements of it.”

Gleeson went on to clarify that he doesn’t know for sure what “unexpected” things we could, er, expect – at the time, he had yet to see a script for the new film, which has since wrapped – but he was eager to see what Abrams had lined up for him in particular.

“I’ve got no idea because I haven’t read a script,” he said. “I have no idea what direction he’ll take it in, or even if he’ll use me. So I’m hoping that if I’m in the next one, I’ll get to do [some more comedy].”

“Because JJ’s writing it, I know that if I’m in it I’ll get to do something exciting,” Gleeson concluded. “So that would be nice.”

“Is there a sequel? Oh my Goddddd!” Daisy Ridley joked when we asked her the same question. “I’ve heard nothing about it. I hopefully will soon.”

“It’s interesting, because after the first one came out we literally went straight into the next one, so there was no time to think about it. And now I’m like huh, I wonder what I’m going to be doing for six months…?”


What is the next Star Wars film’s title?

As of yet, we don’t know – though we’ll probably find out soon, as titles for the previous main saga movies (The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi) had already been revealed at this stage ahead of their release dates.

Unless of course, LucasFilm and Disney are planning to reveal the title with the film’s first trailer, Avengers: Endgame style…


When are we getting a trailer for Episode IX?

Again, this is a bit of a mystery – though judging by previous films’ metrics, we can get some clues. The first teaser for The Last Jedi was released the April before release, meaning that we could be seeing some new footage for Episode IX fairly soon.

However, given how long it’s taken LucasFilm to reveal the film’s title (see above), it might be that they similarly hold back on releasing a trailer for this eagerly-awaited final chapter.

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Star Wars Episode IX will be released in UK cinemas on the 19th December