Disney has revealed the cast of the upcoming Star Wars: Episode IX, and amongst the expected names like Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver, there are a few surprises, not least of which is the fact that both Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill are set to appear.
Carrie Fisher passed away in 2016, after filming her appearance in The Last Jedi, but returning director J.J. Abrams said in a statement that, with the blessing of her daughter Billie Lourd, the upcoming film will use unseen footage from The Force Awakens. He explained:
“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 honour Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII.”
The announcement today also confirmed that Billy Dee Williams will reprise his iconic role of Lando Calrissian, while Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker will be back in some form. British actors Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant will also be joining the cast.
Alongside Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver, returning cast members include John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, and the aforementioned Billie Lourd.
This initial announcement makes no mention of frequent Abrams collaborator Keri Russell, who was rumoured to play a part. Gwendoline Christie‘s name doesn’t come up either, and at this rate, she may go down as the most under-used actress in the trilogy.