Episode IX cast announcement includes Carrie Fisher

There are many things about Star Wars Episode IX that felt safe to assume. Mostly the return of Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac. And then there were things that we just couldn’t tell.

One of those things was the return of Carrie Fisher. But it looks like she is definitely going to appear in the film per an announcement from Starwars.com. Using previously-shot footage, we will see General Leia once again in at least some capacity.

As Episode IX begins shooting at London’s Pinewood Studios on 1 August J.J Abrams and Lucasfilm have released the cast list for the last instalment in the current trilogy.

While Luscafilm and Kathleen Kennedy had said previously that they would have to move on from using either a digital version or unseen footage of Carrie Fisher as General Organa, it has been revealed this week and confirmed by the cast list that previous shots and unused footage of Fisher will be used in the film.

J.J Abrams said in a statement this week that, “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.”

Just how she will be included in the film and in what capacity and the fact that Mark Hamill is in the cast list means there have been some interesting script decisions made for Episode IX. Mark Hamill recently echoed J.J Abrams thoughts about how they would close the trilogy off without her.

It’s no surprise that Luke will appear in the film as a force ghost like Yoda and Obi Wan before him, and it is likely that he may counsel Rey through her final stages to become a Jedi.

Newly announced cast members include: Keri Russell (who is believed to have only recently signed a contract), Naomi Ackie (Lady Macbeth, The Five) and Richard E. Grant (Logan, Downton Abbey) in as-yet unnamed roles.

Ackie and Grant join the returning characters for Episode 9: Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Lupita Nyong’o Maz Kanata, Domhnall Gleeson General Hux, Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico, Joonas Suotamo as Chewie, and Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd.

The final installment will be scored by award-winning composer John Williams once more.

Very little is known about the story for IX but there are definitely some story threads to pick up from The Last Jedi. Rey’s parentage seems likely to figure as a major plot point as it was casually brushed off, and just how Kylo Ren will take over the reigns as Supreme Leader remain some of the bigger questions.

Abrams has even more pressure on him to make this conclusion to the current trilogy a success. With fans divided over The Last Jedi and Solo an unfortunate failure at the box office, a lot is riding on the director to set the franchise back on the right trackIf previous timelines are a guide, we should expect to see a teaser trailer early in 2019 for the final episode in the current trilogy.

Update to this story: It has been recently reported by DigitalSpy that Episode 9 will also use footage from The Last Jedi.

Adrian Drayton

Adrian Drayton is the Director of Reel Dialogue. A film critic and commentator on culture for 20 years, he believes in the power of cinema and the power of God to start conversations about faith and culture. He is also a massive Star Wars nerd.