Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm have announced the official cast for J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode IX and there are some surprises! Returning cast members include Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, and Billie Lourd. New cast members include Naomi Ackie (Doctor Who) and Richard E. Grant (Gosford Park, Hudson Hawk). They will be joined by veteran Star Wars actors Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, and Billy Dee Williams, who will reprise his role as Lando Calrissian. The most surprising news is that there is unused footage of Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa that will be used in the film! Director J.J. Abrams had this to say in a statement: “We desperately loved Carrie Fisher. 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.” That’s so cool! I’m so happy to hear that Leia will be in Episode IX. The movie will begin filming at London’s Pinewood Studios on August 1st with returning to direct the final installment of the Skywalker saga. Abrams co-wrote the screenplay with Chris Terrio (Argo, Justice League). Composer John Williams will also return to compose Episode IX. The film is scheduled for release on December 20, 2019.