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We Know Who’s Returning For (And Joining) Star Wars: Episode IX

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The countdown to Star Wars: Episode IX is officially underway.

According to the official Star Wars website (a fairly reliable source, from our experience), production on Episode IX will begin on August 1 at Pinewood Studios in London. As most Star Wars fans are likely already aware, The Force Awakens‘ J.J. Abrams is returning to direct after a one-movie hiatus and co-wrote the script with Chris Terrio. Terrio also co-wrote ArgoBatman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Justice League, so he’s clearly in need of a well-deserved Ben Affleck break.

Unsurprisingly, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega and Ocsar Isaac will return to Episode IX as Rey, Kylo Ren, Finn and Poe, respectively. Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata) Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico), Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca, once again taking over for OG Chewie Peter Mayhew), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) Billie Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), and Billie Lourd (Lieutenant Connix) will also reprise their roles. Donald Glover will, sadly, not be making an appearance as young Lando.

Lourd’s mother, the late Carrie Fisher, will appear in the upcoming film via unused footage originally recorded for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Despite months of ongoing speculation, General/Princess Leia was apparently never going to be recast or reimagined using CG technology. “With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie, we have found a way to honour Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII,” Abrams explained in a statement.

John Williams will score Episode IX, just as he has for every Star Wars movie since the franchise kicked off in 1977. But that doesn’t mean Episode IX won’t be without some new blood, too—BFI Award nominee Naomi Ackie and Game of Thrones‘ Richard E. Grant will join the Star Wars family in roles that have yet to be disclosed.

Star Wars: Episode IX is currently scheduled to come out next December. We sadly won’t have any on-set photos or videos to share until long after production kicks off next week, but in the meantime you can re-familiarise yourself with all your favourite Star Wars returnees by checking out the Episode VIII trailer below.