Filming is underway on the latest and final installment in the Skywalker saga, and director J.J. Abrams actually gave fans their first look at two of the major players in Star Wars: Episode IX.
Announcing the beginning of production on the next Lucasfilm project, Abrams posted a photo of a camera rig with actors John Boyega and Joonas Suotamo, out of focus in the background. The two play Finn and Chewbacca respectively. Take a look in the photo below.
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
Finn is poised to make a major impact in the new movie after the events of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Now fully committed to the Resistance, the turncoat Stormtrooper will take on a bigger role in the fight against the First Order after the massive casualties suffered in the previous installment.
Boyega has been one of the main characters of the new trilogy, originally positioned as the "possible Jedi" of the group in the marketing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens before the film ultimately revealed that Rey was key to the Jedi's continuance.
Suotamo is reprising his role as Chewbacca for the fourth time, after serving as an "understudy" of sorts to Star Wars legend Peter Mayhew in Episode VII. He's coming hot off the heels of his star turn in Solo: A Star Wars Story, and hopefully Chewbacca takes on a much bigger role in this film now that the actor has proven he can maintain Mayhew's massive legacy.
There's a third figure in Abrams' photo but given how blurry everything is and how the rig covers their face, it's difficult to tell who it is. Smart money puts it on Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, though it could also be Daisy Ridley as Rey or any of the other principal stars and Resistance figureheads.
It looks like they're in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, so it makes sense that it would be Rey in the pilot's seat. But that shirt is also of the same "dashing smuggler/daring pilot" variety, so there's a good chance it's Poe Dameron. This would be especially important considering Poe has yet to pilot the Falcon, and this is the kind of fan service we'd like to see in the final installment of the new trilogy.
Abrams is on the right track so far, keeping fans apprised with social media posts a la Ron Howard and Rian Johnson. We can't wait to see even more teases from the director.
Star Wars: Episode IX is set to release in December 2019.