J.J. Abrams: Starting Episode IX is “bittersweet”

J.J. Abrams posted his first tweet to his personal account to mark the first day of shooting on Episode IX. “Bittersweet starting this next chapter without Carrie, but thanks to an extraordinary cast and crew, we are ready to go.” he tweeted. “Grateful for @rianjohnson and special thanks to George Lucas for creating this incredible world and beginning a story of which we are lucky to be a part. #IX”

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Episode IX begins filming August 1, confirms Williams and Fisher

J.J. Abrams’ Episode IX will begin filming on August 1 at London’s Pinewood Studios, StarWars.com has announced, confirming that Billy Dee Williams, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher (via unused The Force Awakens footage) will be returning.

Interestingly, the release calls IX “the final installment of the Skywalker saga.”

As expected, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Anthony Daniels, Joonas Suotamo, and Billie Lourd are also returning. They’re being joined by new (to Star Wars) faces, Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant.

A late addition to the release was Keri Russell, the only new-to-Star-Wars actor rumored for this round.

More details on the Fisher footage:

The role of Leia Organa will once again be played by Carrie Fisher, using previously unreleased footage shot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. “We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” says Abrams. “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.”

Composer John Williams and Director of Photography Dan Mindel are also returning.

Greg Grunberg heavily hints he’s back for IX

Is Greg Grunberg’s Snap Wexley coming back for Episode IX? “We better, or else my wife’s gonna kill me for growing the beard,” Grunberg said during a chat with Yahoo at SDCC. “I can’t officially say anything,” he continued. “But this is getting itchy. I’m getting itchy to go over there and do it. So yeah, we’ll see.”

Temmin “Snap” Wexley was one of the Black Squadron X-wing pilots in The Force Awakens. The character is a regular in the Poe Dameron comics, which is currently embarking on a storyline that explains what they were up to during The Last Jedi. As a teenager, the character is one of the leads in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy.

Grunberg is a childhood pal of Episode IX director J.J. Abrams and appears in much of his work. IX is due to begin shooting very soon.

Report: Billy Dee Williams returning for IX

Lando Calrissian is coming back – again. The Hollywood Reporter, backing up a Fantha Tracks report from last month, is now saying that Billy Dee Williams will reprise the role in Episode IX.

A younger version of Lando, played by Donald Glover, appeared in May’s Solo, but Billy Dee hasn’t been on screen since Return of the Jedi, though he did do some voice work as the character on Rebels.

IX is due to begin filming at the end of the month, so if this rumor does pan out, we’ll likely hear soon.

Report: Keri Russell in talks for Episode IX

J.J. Abrams may be bringing a familiar face with him to Episode IX. Keri Russell is in talks for a role, Variety reports today. The role reportedly calls for “action-heavy fight scenes”, something she has experience with in her recent roles on FX’s The Americans, Mission: Impossible and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Variety also says that Abrams is looking to cast two more roles before the end of the month, when filming is due to begin.

Russell starred in Abram’s first TV show, Felicity.