It has been a rough end-2017 and early-2018 with the “Star Wars” franchise. It began with the polarizing reception of “Episode VIII – The Last Jedi”, something that has brought attention to a seedy underbelly of franchise fandom that feels entitled to decide said property’s direction. Then came the lackluster performance of “Solo: A Star Wars Story”, the second installment of an alternative anthology. Such was the resulting backlash from critical reactions that some future “Star Wars” projects were quietly cancelled, even as new (and returning) TV programs are announced. But the biggest and latest news is the beginning of filming for “Star Wars: Episode IX”.
IGN reveals that J.J. Abrams, director of “Episode VII – The Force Awakens” and returning for “Episode IX”, has given franchise fan a sneak peek at the proceedings that was the start of filming, at Pinewood Studios in the UK, for the final installment of the “sequel” trilogy of the long-running space opera. This comes in the form of a snapshot of a scene being captured on camera, which dominates the background of the photo Abrams shared. The background is out of focus but it appears to be the Millennium Falcon bridge with Finn (John Boyega).
The photo, posted on Twitter, was accompanied by a caption from Abrams about three subjects. First, he expressed his bittersweet feeling on working on the conclusion of the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy without actress Carrie Fisher, who played Leia Organa from the original films. He then extended his gratitude to Rian Johnson, who directed “The Last Jedi” and Fisher on her last franchise appearance before her death in 2016. Finally, he gave a special thanks to the man who brought the legend to life, George Lucas himself, for creating this incredible world and beginning a story of which we are lucky to be a part.”
“Star Wars: Episode IX” has been slated by Lucasfilm to be a conclusion to all “episodic” movies of the franchise, which related the adventures of the Skywalker family in the Galaxy Far, Far Away. Reprising their roles are the new-generation cast members Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver.
Actors returning from the original trilogy of Episodes IV to VI include Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian, and surprisingly Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher. Hamill, despite the passing of his character Luke Skywalker in “The Last Jedi”, is set to reprise the role, presumably as a “Force ghost”. Fisher however, will continue playing the part of Leia thanks to J.J. Abrams utilizing unused shots of the actress from “The Force Awakens”, an action that had been given the blessing of her surviving family.
“Star Wars: Episode IX” will come out in cinemas next year, on December 20, 2019.
Image courtesy of Comic Book Movie