Star Wars: Episode IX news: Leia to feature, Lando Calrissian’s return officially confirmed

A lot of Star Wars fans have been feeling somewhat disillusioned with their beloved franchise in recent times.

After the universal success of The Force Awakens (2015), there was a lot of excitement for its dark follow-up The Last Jedi when it was released at Christmas last year. However the middle film of the new trilogy proved very diverse with some praising its bold story and others ridiculing it for tarnishing the Star Wars legacy.

Unsurprisingly, Lucasfilm are trying to pull out all the stops to ensure that the upcoming Episode 9 is a major hit and bring the beloved franchise to a statisfying close.

On Friday night, they confirmed that the film WILL feature never-before-seen footage of the late Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa.

The decision was made by director J.J. Abrams who is working on the film after his previous involvement in making The Force Awakens.

Abrams said on Friday:

“We desperately loved Carrie Fisher. 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.”

The news comes after studio boss Kathleen Kennedy had previously said that “Carrie would not be in IX”.

The news of Fisher’s involvement was part of a bumper casting announcement made by LucasFilm on Friday evening.

Despite his character’s apparent death in the climax of The Last Jedi, Mark Hamill is reprising his iconic role as Luke Skywalker following lengthy speculation by fans and the media over the past eight months.

Additionally, another Star Wars veteran is finally making his return to the franchise as Billy Dee Williams makes his long-awaited comeback as smooth-talking conman Lando Calrissian.

The rest of the cast returning from the new trilogy consist of Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Adam Driver (Kylo Renn), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca) and Carrie Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd (Lieutenant Connix).

Finally, there are three new additions to the ensemble which consist of Golden Globe winner Keri Russell (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Americans), Richard E. Grant (Withnail & I, Game of Thrones) and Naomi Ackie (Damilola, Our Loved Boy, Lady MacBeth). No specific details have been given as to who the the trio will be playing.

Star Wars: Episode IX will be released on December 20th 2019.

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