The sequel trilogy was announced after Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm in October 2012. Colin Trevorrow was announced as Episode IX's director in mid-2015, but left the project by late 2017 due to creative differences. He was replaced by Abrams, who previously directed The Force Awakens. Most of the cast of the previous two movies reprise their roles, and Billy Dee Williams returns to the franchise onscreen for the first time since 1983's Return of the Jedi. Filming began in August 2018 at Pinewood Studios near London.
In August 2017, it was announced that Jack Thorne would rewrite the script. On September 5, 2017, Lucasfilm stated that Trevorrow had left the production following creative differences.The Hollywood Reporter reported that his working relationship with Kathleen Kennedy had become unmanageable after failing to deliver a satisfactory script, despite writing several drafts. Johnson was rumored as the top choice to replace Trevorrow as director, but stated "it was never in the plan for me to direct Episode IX." The next day, it was announced that J. J. Abrams, the director of The Force Awakens, would return to direct the film. Abrams would also co-write the script with Chris Terrio and produce the film with his company Bad Robot Productions, Kennedy and Michelle Rejwan. Disney also moved the film's release date to December 20, 2019. As principal photography began on August 1, 2018, Abrams shared a behind-the-scenes photo to mark the occasion.
Carrie Fisher, who played Leia Organa, died in 2016. Variety and Reuters reported that she had been planned for a key role in Episode IX. In January 2017, Lucasfilm stated that there were no plans to digitally generate Fisher's performance as they had for Rogue One. The following April, Fisher's brother Todd revealed that Fisher's daughter, Billie Lourd, had granted Disney the rights to use recent footage of Fisher. However, Kathleen Kennedy stated that Fisher would not appear in the film. In July 2018, J. J. Abrams announced that unused footage of Fisher from The Force Awakens would be utilized to help complete the story. A week later, it was revealed that unseen footage from The Last Jedi would also be incorporated. According to Todd Fisher,
There's a lot of minutes of footage. I don’t mean just outtakes. This is unused, new content that could be woven into the storyline. ... It's going to look like it was meant to be. Like it was shot yesterday.
Principal photography began on August 1, 2018, at Pinewood Studios near London, England. Filming was also done in Wadi Rum, Jordan. Oscar Isaac stated that Abrams is allowing more improvised acting than in the previous two films. On January 28, 2019, Anthony Daniels finished filming for his role as C-3PO in the film. Filming is expected to be wrapped by February 2019.
On January 10, 2018, it was reported that John Williams, who composed the music for the eight previous saga films, would return to compose and conduct Episode IX. The next month, Williams announced that Episode IX would be the last Star Wars film for which he would compose the score.
The film was originally set to be released May 24, 2019, but was later pushed back to December 20, 2019.
^Revealed to Empire by John Boyega, albeit in an interview he did not recall. Inverse pointed out that he did not deny the claim in his response. Boyega previously implied a time gap by stating that he was growing out his hair.
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