After forty years the story of the most famous family in the galaxy far, far away will soon come to an end, when Star Wars: Episode IX closes out the Skywalker family saga at the end of 2019. But how will things end for Rey, Finn, Poe, Kylo Ren, and the rest? What secrets will finally be revealed in the last of the sequel trilogy? Here’s everything we know about the movie so far, which we’ll continue to update until the film comes to theaters.
UPDATE: A Title and a TrailerThe film finally got a title, The Rise of Skywalker, at this year’s Star Wars Celebration, but in a far more exciting way than we we expected. Director J.J. Abrams shocked the crowd in attendance and those watching the live stream at home by releasing a trailer for the film, which ended by teasing the shocking return of Emperor Palpatine. (Make sure to check out our full breakdown of the trailer.)
That’s a Wrap!
After more than four decades and nine movies, the Skywalker family saga is done filming. Episode IX finished shooting, and director J.J. Abrams marked the occasion with a photo that might hit hyperspeed on your tear ducts.
It feels impossible, but today wrapped photography on Episode IX. There is no adequate way to thank this truly magical crew and cast. I’m forever indebted to you all. pic.twitter.com/138AprtFuZ
— JJ Abrams (@jjabrams) February 15, 2019
Replace “might” with definitely. And this is just the end of filming. How are we going to handle the end of the movie? “An emotional mess” is our guess.
Carrie Fisher’s Screen Time
We knew Carrie Fisher would appear in the film posthumously thanks to unused footage from The Force Awakens, but her brother Todd Fisher has given us an idea of just how much we will see of the late actress. According to him there are “lot of minutes of footage” that can “be woven into the storyline.” He said, “It’s going to look like it was meant to be. Like it was shot yesterday.”
That won’t make it any easier to watch knowing she’s no longer with us, but it should help Leia get a worthy goodbye.
Oscar Isaac On Leia’s Death
We weren’t ready to say goodbye to Carrie Fisher in 2016, and we aren’t ready to say goodbye to Princess Leia in Episode IX. We already knew our general will appear via unused footage from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, but now we have an idea of how her passing will be handled. Oscar Isaac told The Daily Beast “The story deals with (her death) quite a bit.” And while he said “it’s a strange thing to be on the set and to be speaking of Leia and having Carrie not be around,” the film “deals with the amazing character that Carrie created in a really beautiful way.”
It sounds like both Carrie and Leia will get a farewell from the galaxy far, far away befitting the both of them.
Greg Grunberg Returning
Deadline reports actor Greg Grunberg, who played Resistance pilot Temmin “Snap” Wexley in The Force Awakens, will return for director J.J. Abrams, who he has a long history working with. Snap was off with the rest of Black Squadron during the events of The Last Jedi, but now he’ll back, presumably helping what’s left of the Resistance rally against the First Order.
A Possible Appointment with a Doctor
Who could be the newest cast member? According to Variety the latest big name joining the cast is the Eleventh Doctor himself, Matt Smith. There’s no confirmation from Lucasfilm about this report yet, and it’s unclear who Smith will play, but if the Resistance wants someone with experience protecting the universe they found the right doctor for the job.
Dominic Monaghan Joins the Cast
According to Deadline director J.J. Abrams has got to go back! To the cast of Lost that is, as he will reunite with Dominic Monaghan in a still unannounced role.
WRITER AND DIRECTOR
The Force Awakens’ J.J. Abrams is back for a second stint behind the camera, after Lucasfilm announced he would replace Colin Trevorrow who “left” the movie over creative differences. Abrams co-writes the script with Chris Terrio (Argo, Batman v Superman, Justice League), and despite being known for working til the wire, he finished it up well before filming started in the summer of 2018.
How excited about the movie is Abrams? It got him to join Twitter, where his first (and as of now only) tweet remembered the late Carrie Fisher and thanked Rian Johnson and George Lucas.
Bittersweet starting this next chapter without Carrie, but thanks to an extraordinary cast and crew, we are ready to go. 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 pic.twitter.com/FOfnGwVut5
— JJ Abrams (@jjabrams) August 1, 2018
We’re probably still many months away from an official title, but in the great Star Wars tradition, it does have a working title–“trIXie.” What does it mean? Probably nothing, but “tri” could apply to the third film in the trilogy, or all three trilogies in general. The “IX” seems pretty obvious though.
Almost no specifics are known about the actual story at this time, but we do know what J.J. Abrams plans to do with the story. He has said he wants to unite all nine movies in the final installment, which will also be the final chapter in the Skywalker family saga. That might include returning to some prequel trilogy era locales. It also seems like a near guarantee we will see a time jump of at least a few years, after the Resistance was left nearly depleted at the end of The Last Jedi.
One thing we do know thanks to John Boyega is that Rey and Finn should be back together in this movie, after being apart for most of The Last Jedi. And because this is the topic that won’t die until after the movie comes out, there are some who think we still might not know the truth about Rey’s parents.
Just like The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, the final film in the sequel trilogy will get a holiday release, with it flying into theaters on December 20th, 2019. Originally it was slated for an old-school spring release on May 24th.
CAST – RETURNING
Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, and Anthony Daniels are all back to close out the trilogy. And rather than keep a terrible secret no one would be surprised by anyway, Lucasfilm has also announced Mark Hamill will also be joining the cast. Canto Bight won’t even let us bet on him appearing as a Force Ghost.
CAST – NEW
(AND ONE MAJOR NEW-OLD CHARACTER)
Richard E. Grant, Naomi Ackie, and Keri Russell are the newest members of the galaxy far, far away, though their roles are unknown as of now (though we do have some theories about who Russell will play). But we definitely know who a certain alum will be playing when he makes his long awaited return, because Billy Dee Williams will once again don a cape to play Lando Calrissian.
We’ll never get over Carrie Fisher’s untimely passing in 2016, but Lucasfilm and J.J. Abrams have already announced she will still appear in Episode IX using never-before-seen footage of Princess Leia. From Star Wars website:
“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.”
Episode IX won’t just close out the Skywalker family saga, it will mark the end of composer John Williams’ epic 40 year run with the galaxy far, far away, because he has said this will be his final film writing music for the franchise.
What do you hope to see in Episode IX? Tell us in the comments below, and remember to check back here for the latest news about the movie.
Images: Lucasfilm, BBC