Veteran “Star Wars” actor — and Luke Skywalker himself! — Mark Hamill took to Twitter over the weekend to respond to the news that his beloved on-screen sister, Carrie Fisher, would appear in the next film in the franchise, the still-untitled “Episode IX,” thanks to the use of previously unreleased footage from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Fisher passed away in December of 2016, just one year before Rian Johnson’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” hit theaters with what was then believed to be Fisher’s last on-screen role.
The news was included in a Friday press release that announced the full cast of the next film, directed by “The Force Awakens” director J.J. Abrams, which also includes the return of other “Star Wars” vets like Hamill himself and Billy Dee Williams. They will join Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, and Keri Russell in what is being touted as the final film of the Skywalker saga.
Of the news, Hamill wrote, “It’s bittersweet facing my final chapter without her-She is simply irreplaceable.” He added, “I’m finding solace in the fact that she won’t BE replaced & would love the worldwide outpouring of affection from those who loved her when they heard the news.”
It's bittersweet facing my final chapter without her-She is simply irreplaceable. I'm finding solace in the fact that she won't BE replaced & would love the worldwide outpouring of affection from those who loved her when they heard the news.#CarrieOnForever pic.twitter.com/7ueMqBxQwa
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) July 29, 2018
“We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” said Abrams in an official statement announcing the film’s casting. “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 film will be released in December of 2019.