JJ Abrams has confirmed that late actress Carrie Fisher will play a part in Star Wars: Episode IX – the third and final instalment of the current trilogy.
Fisher played iconic character Princess Leia/General Organa in the franchise and had filmed scenes for Episodes VII and VIII before her death in December 2016. Abrams – who returns to direct the last film – has explained that her character’s journey will be completed using footage captured during Episode VII.
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“We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” he said. “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 honour Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII.”
Fisher will appear alongside fellow original trilogy star Mark Hamill, who reprises his role as Luke Skywalker amid speculation that his character will appear as a force ghost. Anthony Daniels is also back, playing C3PO, with the long-rumoured Billy Dee Williams confirmed as Lando Calrissian, a role he last played in 1983’s Return of the Jedi.
Other returning characters for the new film – which begins shooting at London’s Pinewood Studios on 1st August – include Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo and Billie Lourd.
They will be joined by franchise newcomers Richard E Grant, Naomi Ackie and Keri Russell, who worked with Abrams on her TV series Felicity between 1998 and 2002.
Veteran Star Wars composer John Williams will return to score the new film which is scripted by Abrams and Chris Terrio.
Star Wars: Episode IX is due for release in cinemas in December 2019.