Disney has announced the cast for the next chapter from the galaxy far, far away, and it will include the late Carrie Fisher. Fisher, who played Princess Leia, died suddenly in December 2016, aged 60, after suffering a heart attack, just as she was enjoying a career revival with the re-invigorated Star Wars movie franchise that reunited her with original cast members Hamill and Harrison Ford in the 2015 film Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
She had just finished shooting The Last Jedi and Leia was to have been the central character in the ninth film in the sci-fi franchise, Star Wars: Episode IX. Disney said after Fisher’s death that the script for the ninth movie was being reworked. “We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” director JJ Abrams, who will direct Episode IX, said in a statement.
“Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast, or use a CG (computer-generated) 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,” he added, referring to Force Awakens.
She will appear next to the full returning cast of the last film, including Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo and Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd. New additions to the cast include Naomi Ackie, Richard E Grant and Keri Russell.
Filming is scheduled to begin Wednesday at London’s Pinewood Studios. Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker, will also appear in the film, which for the moment is simply called Episode IX. It is scheduled to be released in December 2019.