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It’s officially happening. On August 1, 2018, the as-yet-untitled Star Wars: Episode IX will begin filming at London’s Pinewood Studios. J.J. Abrams has returned to direct the final installment of the Skywalker Saga from a screenplay that he co-wrote with Chris Terrio. The official news hit the inbox here at Rock Father HQ just moments ago, and the list of new and returning cast members is both expected and surprising. See all the details below!

From the Official Announcement: 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. Joining the cast of Episode IX are Keri Russell, Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant, who 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 role of Leia Organa will once again be played by Carrie Fisher, using previously unreleased footage shot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. “We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” says Abrams. “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.”

Composer John Williams, who has scored every chapter in the Star Wars saga since 1977’s A New Hope, will return to a galaxy far, far away with Episode IX.

Star Wars: Episode IX will be produced by Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Michelle Rejwan, and executive produced by Callum Greene and Jason McGatlin. The crew includes Dan Mindel (Director of Photography), Rick Carter and Kevin Jenkins (Co-Production Designers), Michael Kaplan (Costume Designer), Neal Scanlan (Creature and Droid FX), Maryann Brandon and Stefan Grube (Editors), Roger Guyett (VFX Supervisor), Tommy Gormley (1st AD), and Victoria Mahoney (2nd Unit Director).

Release is scheduled for December 2019.

For more STAR WARS news, reviews and features, including the latest on Ron Howard’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, J.J. Abrams’ STAR WARS: EPISODE IX, Jon Favreau’s live-action television series and the new films from Rian Johnson, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, check out TheRockFather.com/StarWars

Want even more? Read my all-new Star Wars column, Transmissions From A Galaxy Far, Far Away… over at The Pop Insider, the new publication from the team that brings you The Toy Insider!