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.
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.
The next Star Wars cartoon is officially announced, and it’s Resistance, set sometime before The Force Awakens. The “anime-inspired” series will star a character named Kazuda Xiono.
Xiono is “a young pilot recruited by the Resistance and tasked with a top-secret mission to spy on the growing threat of the First Order.” The series will also feature BB-8 and appearances by Poe Dameron and Captain Phasma, with Oscar Isaac and Gwendoline Christie reprising their roles.
The Last Jedi failed to break Star Wars‘ 34-year streak at the Oscars, losing in all four categories it was nominated in. Both sound awards went to Dunkirk, Blade Runner 2049 took VFX, and John Williams lost out on score to Alexandre Desplat for The Shape of Water.
The Shape of Water was the night’s big winner, taking home four Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director for Guillermo del Toro.
Oscar Isaac, Mark Hamill, Kelly Marie Tran and BB-8 did present Best Animated Short and Feature, the highlight being BB-8 getting scratchies:
No Star Wars film has received an Oscar since 1984, when Return of the Jedi was awarded a Special Achievement Award for Visual Effects. But hey, we did get to see a porg on the Oscars, so that’s something.
The Last Jedi press conference (and junket) was held on Sunday, and while it was low on news, an official video has now been released so you can comb through it for details on your specific foci. It had fun moments, but you can feel the exhaustion pouring off all these poor people. Moderated by Entertainment Weekly’s Anthony Breznican, it features Rian Johnson, Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Gwendoline Christie, Domhnall Gleeson and Andy Serkis.