Last week, Lucasfilm dropped major casting news about Star Wars: Episode IX, due out in theaters next December.
Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, and Billie Lourd will all return, while Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, and Keri Russell are joining the cast.
But, there’s more: Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, and Billy Dee Williams, will also come back, but perhaps the biggest reveal is that Carrie Fisher will return as her role of Leia Organa. Previously unreleased footage shot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be used for Fisher’s appearance in the final installment of the Skywalker saga.
“We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” says Abrams. “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.”
This is specific! Life is good! I’m feeling great! But wait… It feels like we know more than we should about this.
In the past, Disney, Lucasfilm, and especially director J. J. Abrams have been particularly tight-lipped about any details regarding the new trilogy. Abrams is known for his mystery box approach, in which he creates a cloud of secrecy surrounding a project to start conversations, obsess over theories, create engagement, and then deliver a surprise at the theater. Remember when Hamill wasn’t on the poster for The Force Awakens?
To be fair, it worked, but this was also before The Last Jedi didn’t answer all of our questions (or answered some in that were unsatisfactory compared to all the build up), and very split feelings and poor box office performance over the Han Solo spin-off, Solo: A Star Wars Story.
As Cinema Blend points out, “Maybe the backlash to The Last Jedi hasn’t resulted in Lucasfilm feeling like the answers were wrong so much as it has realized the questions were unnecessary, and Episode IX won’t be looking to create new mysteries where they’re not required.”
Sure, we still have tons of more questions: How much unreleased footage is there? How will it tie into the plot? Does it change the intended storyline at all? What’s Luke’s role going to be? Among a galaxy’s worth of others.
Perhaps Disney is simply trying to hype up fans for Episode IX after the continued disappointment from The Last Jedi, and the more recent Solo. We’ll have to wait and see as production for the film begins tomorrow.