There’s still a long time to wait until we get to see Star Wars: Episode IX, but we already know plenty about JJ Abrams’ epic trilogy closer.
From casting, shooting, rumours, plot details and everything else going down with the ninth installment set in a galaxy far, far away we’ll gather it up and plonk it in here. Check back for regular updates and news as it arrives.
Spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi to follow as well as potential spoilers for Star Wars: Episode IX
Star Wars: Episode IX filming
Anthony Daniels has now wrapped filming as C-3PO, which likely means that there’s not much left of the shoot in general. Daniels has been in all the Star Wars films up until this closing part of the current trilogy, and hopefully it won’t be the last we’ve seen of his fussy gold droid in the live-action films.
Shooting originally started on August 2. Although no official details have been released, rumours pointed to a location being scouted in the Scottish mountain pass known as Rest And Be Thankful. Given the unique landscape in the area, it’s likely this means a new planet location.
Abrams posted the first official “on-set” photo from the first day of filming, but there’s not too much to look at really:
Is that Finn blurred out in the background? Who’s he talking to?
In an interview with IndieWire, Isaac also discussed Abram’s shooting style, calling the process “looser than it’s been for the past two times,” and talking about the freedom he has to improvise. “It does feel like a relief to get on set and feel like, ‘Oh, we can try things.’ It’s a testament to J.J. coming back and feeling confident. There’s less pressure for it to be right. We just want to make a good movie and have a really good time while doing it.”
Star Wars: Episode IX title
At the moment, the name of the film still hasn’t been revealed, but the production has already changed its working title from “Black Diamond” to “TrIXie”. Traditionally though, working titles have very little relevance to the real one so we don’t reckon JJ is going to go completely off-piste and stick with either.
Star Wars: Episode IX cast
Everyone you expect to be in Episode IX is in it – and then some.
A recent announcement revealed Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Anthony Daniels and Billie Lourd are all returning to their roles – alongside Mark Hamill (who will either be seen in a flashback, or as a force ghost).
Newbies include Naomi Ackie (Lady Macbeth) and Richard E Grant – but original Lando Billy Dee Williams will also make an appearance.
Grant reacted with exactly the kind of enthusiam we’d probably all have when the news was annouced, posting a video on Twitter of himself grinning like a loon. “OK. I’m trying to be cool about this,” he says, “But I’ve been smiling ever since!”
Most significantly, Carrie Fisher will have a posthumous role in the film, with Abrams using unused footage from The Force Awakens to include Leia in the line-up, presumably to give her character a proper send off? Is bringing her back the best way to celebrate her legacy? Discuss.
The most recent new addition is former Doctor Who and Prince Philip, Matt Smith, confirmed to be taking a “major role” in the film. No details have emerged yet on who he’s playing, but Star Wars tends to cast posh english people as baddies…
Rumours that Keri Russell will be joining the cast – and that Harrison Ford will be re-joining it – are still just rumours at the moment.
Star Wars: Episode IX director
JJ Abrams is back in the director’s chair – taking over from Colin Trevorrow after yet another controversial Disney “re-hiring”. Last Jedi director Rian Johnson wrote a story treatment, but the script has been revised by Trevorrow, Jurassic World writer Derek Connolly, Harry Potter And The Cursed Child’s Jack Thorne, Batman V Superman’s Chris Terrio and Abrams himself.
“I had no intention to return,” Abrams told Rolling Stone. “But when the opportunity presented itself to finish a story that we had begun with these new characters, to tell the last chapter of their story, it felt like there was a chance to do it in a way where we could go beyond, and do better than we did in VII. I learned so much in that movie and I saw that this was a chance to sort of realize something that we hadn’t quite achieved – and part of that was it was simply the beginning of these new characters and their story. The opportunity to sort of take what we had learned, to take the feeling of who these characters are and what they are and give them a final chapter that felt in the spirit of what we begun? It was too delicious of an opportunity to pass up.”
Long, long time series composer John Williams will be returning to do the score, announcing in May that Episode IX will be his last Star Wars.
One new addition behind the camera is art director Paul Inglis, who worked on Blade Runner 2049, Prometheus and Children Of Men, suggesting that whatever Episode IX is, it’s going to look gorgeous.
Star Wars: Episode IX plot
At the moment, no one knows anything for sure about the story details, but we can safely expect Episode IX to provide some kind of resolution to the arc that’s been playing out since The Force Awakens. Will the First Order be defeated for good? Will Rey’s bigger role in the story be revealed in full? We just don’t know yet.
In all likelihood, Episode IX will pick up where Episode VIII left off. Luke is dead, Rey is getting stronger, the Resistance is rising and Kylo Ren has gone completely bonkers – without a master, in charge of a huge army, and hell-bent on wiping out everyone in his path. Here are just some of the answers we need…
John Boyega has already hinted that Finn and Rey are going to be back together in the last part, which isn’t too much of a surprise given the pattern already set by the middle chapters of the first two Star Wars trilogies – breaking up the main gang before reuniting them again for the finale. If Episode IX is anything like Episode III and VI, we can expect multiple storylines to intersect as the action builds and loose ends get tied up.
Talking of loose ends, the biggest, and most controversial, plot twist in The Last Jedi saw the huge question of Rey’s ancestry answered with a bit of a shrug. Some loved it, some hated it, and a lot of fans are holding out hope that it was all a Dark Side ruse to throw us off the scent. Will we see Abrams undoing with Rian Johnson did?
One thing’s for sure, Rey won’t die. Probably. “We’re talking about the next 10 years of Star Wars stories, and we’re looking at, narratively, where that might go,” says Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. “Future stories beyond Episode IX with these new characters – Rey, Poe, Finn, BB-8 – but we’re also looking at working with people who are interested in coming into the Star Wars world and taking us places we haven’t been yet. That’s exciting too because it’s a vast galaxy far, far away.”
Star Wars: Episode IX release date
We were supposed to get a new Star Wars movie every Christmas. Then every summer. Then whenever they’re ready. Inevitably, the deadline for Episode IX has been pushed back a bit and the film is now currently scheduled for December 20, 2019. At the moment, that sandwiches it between the Masters Of The Universe remake and the Wicked adaptation – both opening one day either side. That’s a sandwich we’d eat.