Star Wars: Episode IX is set to be released at the end of the year – but so far details on the very final film of the current franchise have been deliberately sparse.
Disney has revealed the title of the film that will close out the current Star Wars trilogy.
The film is called, appropriately, The Rise of Skywalker.
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The news was confirmed during the Star Wars Celebration event on Friday 12th April in Chicago.
During an event streamed live on YouTube, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and director JJ Abrams took to the stage to reveal the all-important Episode IX details.
Rumours of a title release had been bubbling in the build-up to the event, with some fans guessing the possible title in advance.
Reportedly set a year after the events of The Last Jedi, many of the cast from both the original franchise and the classic film series are set to reprise their roles for the final story in the ‘Skywalker saga’.
Director JJ Abrams confirmed during the Star Wars Celebration event that the film does not pick up immediately after the events of Episode VIII.
“This is an adventure that the group goes on together,” Abrams said. “One of the great things about the movie was the dynamic between the characters. They are the most wonderful together, and that’s the thing I’m most looking forward for you to seeing.”
Alongside Daisy Ridley as Rey and John Boyega as Finn, Mark Hamill will return in some form as Luke Skywalker, following his final duel with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) in The Last Jedi.
“On this adventure I think Finn has found his footing and his identity within the Resistance,” Boyega said. “In this film he is a fully-fledged sexy Resistance young man!”
Kelly Marie Tran and Oscar Isaac also joined the cast on stage for the reveal, along with Chewbacca actor Joonas Suotamo.
Carrie Fisher is also set to appear posthumously as Leia Organa using previously filmed footage. Her daughter Billie Lourd, who appears as Lieutenant Connix in the rebooted franchise, gave her blessing for the footage of her late mother to be used.
Billy Dee Williams, the original Lando Calrissian, appeared on the Star Wars Celebration stage to confirm his return to Episode IX, along with new Star Wars addition Naomi Ackie (below) as character Jannah.
While Colin Trevorrow, who previously directed Jurassic World, was originally announced as the director, he left the project in 2015 due to creative differences. Instead JJ Abrams (below), the director of The Force Awakens, returned to oversee the final outing.
Speaking about his return, Abrams explained to Rolling Stone, “The opportunity to sort of take what we had learned, to take the feeling of who these characters are and what they are and give them a final chapter that felt in the spirit of what we begun? It was too delicious of an opportunity to pass up.
“When the opportunity presented itself to finish a story that we had begun with these new characters, to tell the last chapter of their story, it felt like there was a chance to do it in a way where we could go beyond, and do better than we did in VII. I learned so much in that movie and I saw that this was a chance to sort of realise something that we hadn’t quite achieved – and part of that was it was simply the beginning of these new characters and their story.”