On Friday, Lucasfilm surprised everyone with the full cast announcement for Star Wars: Episode IX and news that filming on the final installment of the Skywalker saga will start at London’s Pinewood Studios this Wednesday. That announcement came with the reveal that the late Carrie Fisher would once again play the role of Leia Organa, using previously-unreleased footage from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Now, both Mark Hamill (who will also be back) and Carrie’s brother, Todd Fisher, have addressed the Lucasfilm announcement. On his popular Twitter account, Hamill posted:
“It’s bittersweet facing my final chapter without her-She is simply irreplaceable. I’m finding solace in the fact that she won’t BE replaced & would love the worldwide outpouring of affection from those who loved her when they heard the news. #CarrieOnForever”
Todd also supported the decision by Lucasfilm to include his sister. Talking to Deadline, he said:
“As we, her family, as well as her extended family of fans around the world so believe, Carrie’s ‘Princess Leia is forever entrenched in the franchise and her indelible presence is fundamental to the film. J.J. Abrams understood Carrie’s iconic role, and he has masterfully re-crafted this final entry to include this unused and very last footage of Carrie ever taken, without resorting to CGI or animatronics. Our family and her fans will look forward with great anticipation for this one! Her force will forever be with us!”
Earlier this year, Todd Fisher actually said that Carrie Fisher would appear in Episode IX using unused footage. Lucasfilm said that wasn’t the case, but it seems he was right.
J.J. Abrams returns to direct the final installment of the Skywalker saga. Abrams co-wrote the screenplay with Chris Terrio. “We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” says Abrams in Friday’s official 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 by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII.”
The Star Wars: Episode IX 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.
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).
Star Wars: Episode IX will open in theaters on December 20, 2019.