Disney and Lucasfilm have announced the cast of “Star Wars: Episode IX,” confirming two big returns.
Billy Dee Williams is reprising his role as Lando Calrissian, and Carrie Fisher will be featured as Leia Organa in the final installment of the Skywalker saga using previously unreleased footage shot for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Fisher died in December 2016 at the age of 60.
Mark Hamill will be returning as well, whose Luke Skywalker seemingly died in “The Last Jedi,” and Anthony Daniels will reprise his role at C-3PO. Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant have also joined the cast.
Variety previously reported that Keri Russell was in talks to join the cast for “Episode IX.” Sources confirmed on Friday that Russell has just closed her deal to join the film.
“Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast, or use a CG character,” director J.J. Abrams said in a statement. “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.”
Abrams co-wrote “Episode IX” with Chris Terrio. 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. John Williams will return to score the film.
“Star Wars: Episode IX” is set to be released December 2019.