Arts & Entertainment

Both Luke and Leia Will Return in Star Wars: Episode IX

And so is Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian.
IMAGE Lucasfilm
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Three years after the death of Carrie Fisher, her character, Leia Organa, will appear in a new Star Wars film, director J.J. Abrams confirmed Friday. Also returning for Star Wars: Episode IX will be Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker, even though his character became one with the Force at the end of The Last Jedi. The film is set to be released in December 2019.

Abrams said in a press release that he will use previously unreleased footage Fisher shot for The Last Jedi and won’t involve recasting or CGI to recreate Leia. "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," Abrams said. "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."

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It’s unclear exactly how Luke will return to the next Star Wars movie, but he’ll join another beloved actor in the franchise: Billy Dee Williams, who will return to play Lando Calrissian.

Production will begin on Star Wars: Episode IX on August 1 at London’s Pinewood Studios. New actors joining the cast include British actress Naomi Ackie, known for Lady Macbeth, and South African actor Richard E. Grant, who recently has had roles in Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey, though it’s unclear who they will play as of now. The casting announcement leaves out Keri Russell, who was reportedly in talks to join the film.

This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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