J.J. Abrams marked the official start of production on “Star Wars: Episode IX” by joining Twitter and publishing a note in which he said it was “bittersweet starting the next chapter” of the franchise without Carrie Fisher. Fisher passed away in December 2016, making the Rian Johnson-directed “The Last Jedi” the last time she played General Leia in a “Star Wars” film. Abrams will pull from unused footage of Fisher on “The Force Awakens” to incorporate the character into “Episode IX.”
Abrams’ note also included a special line to Johnson, whose “The Last Jedi” proved to be one of the most polarizing additions to the “Star Wars” franchise. The filmmaker, who is returning to “Star Wars” after helming “The Force Awakens,” said he is “grateful” to Johnson and thankful for George Lucas for “creating an incredible world.” The Johnson line is a show of support from Abrams towards Johnson’s efforts on “The Last Jedi.” Angry fans have harassed Johnson and cast members like Kelly Marie Tran online in the months since the film’s release. In Tran’s case, the harassment got so bad she ended up wiping her Instagram account clean.
“Star Wars: Episode IX” once again stars Tran, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, and Oscar Isaac and promises to be the “final chapter” of the Skywalker saga. New cast members include Keri Russell and Richard E. Grant, while Mark Hamill and Billy Dee Williams will be reprising their roles as Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissian, respectively. Abrams thanked his “extraordinary cast and crew” in his Twitter note, which includes franchise composer John Williams.
Disney will release “Episode IX” in theaters nationwide December 20, 2019. Read Abrams’ full note in the post 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