‘Star Wars: Episode IX’ to Reportedly Wrap Filming in February 2019

The in-the-works Star Wars: Episode IX will reportedly wrap principal photography in February, Omega Underground reports. Filming got underway at the start of the month.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams returns to direct the third entry in Disney’s sequel trilogy and the reported conclusion of the Skywalker saga launched with the George Lucas-directed Star Wars in 1977.

Abrams, in announcing the commencement of production, paid special mention to Lucas, late Leia Organa actress Carrie Fisher and Star Wars: The Last Jedi writer-director Rian Johnson.

“Bittersweet starting this next chapter without Carrie, but thanks to an extraordinary cast and crew, we are ready to go,” Abrams wrote on social media August 1. “Grateful for Rian Johnson and special thanks to George Lucas for creating this incredible world and beginning a story of which we are lucky to be a part.”

Returning cast include Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, and Billie Lourd, as well as series veterans Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams, and Anthony Daniels, who reprise their roles as Luke Skywalker, Lando Calrissian, and C-3PO, respectively.

Series newcomers include Naomi Ackie (Doctor Who), Richard E. Grant (Logan), and Keri Russell (The Americans), who join in roles that are characteristically being kept under wraps.

Fisher’s Resistance leader will be involved in the sequel through the re-purposing of unused footage from The Force Awakens, as result of her ties to angsty villain Kylo Ren (Driver), the corrupted son of Leia and the late Han Solo.

“We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” Abrams 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 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.”

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Episode IX is again produced by Abrams and Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy, and The Force Awakens co-producer Michelle Rejwan. Callum Greene (The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug) and Jason McGatlin (Solo: A Star Wars Story) serve as executive producers. Abrams directs from a script co-written with Chris Terrio (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice).

Star Wars: Episode IX opens December 20, 2019.