Star Wars 9: New director, release date, cast, and everything you need to know

All the latest news, pictures, rumours, and more from Star Wars' final instalment

Fast Facts:

  • Star Wars 9 release date: December 20, 2019
  • Director: JJ Abrams
  • Cast: TBC
  • Writer: JJ Abrams, Chris Terrio

The Star Wars 9 movie is the end… of the beginning?

It feels like months rather than years since we first clapped eyes on the film that would go on to be Star Wars: The Force Awakens – yet incredibly, the end of Star Wars’ third trilogy is already in sight. It’ll come in the winter of 2019, but the happy news is that Disney and Lucasfilm are already planning even more films for Hollywood’s most beloved franchise. (Hardly a surprise, given the success of Rogue One and excitement for Han Solo’s upcoming adventure.)

“I can certainly foresee movies past nine,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy told Fandango. “George [Lucas] always intended nine movies, and whether we continue that or not is something that we’re talking about right now. If the story warrants it, we’ll absolutely do it. If it actually inspires new ideas, then we’ll probably head in that direction.”

Details on Star Wars 9 are inevitably light – but here’s everything we do know so far, including its release date, director, cast predictions, and when you can expect to see the first trailer…

The Star Wars 9 release date is far, far away

Start counting the days: Star Wars 9 will land in cinemas on May 24, 2019. Alright, maybe don’t start counting the days unless you need an insomnia cure. While it still feels a long way off, one small mercy is that it’s a spring, rather than winter, release – The Force Awakens arrived on December 14, 2015, while The Last Jedi emerges on December 15, 2017. So in a sense we’re getting it six months earlier than might have been expected, though it’s worth remembering that The Last Jedi was scheduled for May before being bumped on to December. Let’s hope SW9 isn’t beset by similar delays.

The Star Wars 9 trailer is set for the summer of 2018

With nearly two years until Star Wars 9’s release date, its first trailer is still galaxies away. But it is possible to speculate on when you’re likely to see it, based on Disney and Lucasfilm’s previous PR campaigns for the trilogy. 

The first brief teaser for The Last Jedi dropped in April 2017, eight months before its December 2017 release date. The gap was somewhat larger for The Force Awakens: 13 months, from its trailer debut in November 2014, to cinematic unveiling in December 2015. According to those guidelines, then, and with Star Wars 9 coming in May 2019, you can expect its first trailer sometime between April 2018 and September 2018. 

The Star Wars 9 cast includes "new lead and supporting roles"

It’s safe to assume that Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Adam Driver will headline the cast for Star Wars 9 – unless one of Rey/Finn/Poe Dameron/Kylo Ren meets with a shocking fate in The Last Jedi. (Which, given what happened to Han Solo in The Force Awakens, isn’t out of the question.) However, a casting call for the movie promises fresh faces in major parts, too, with casting directors “setting up auditions for new lead and supporting roles”. Don’t expect megabucks household names, mind; that just isn’t the Star Wars way.

JJ Abrams is back as director, after Lucasfilm ditches Colin Trevorrow 

For a long time, Jurassic World's Colin Trevorrow was officially attached to Star Wars 9 as director, but in September 2017 Lucasfilm announced that it had "mutually chosen to part ways" with him, citing creative differences. Naturally, this kicked off a wave speculation over who might replace Trevorrow for the final film in Disney's Star Wars trilogy, but it wasn't long before another announcement arrived. 

Yes, JJ Abrams, the man responsible for The Force Awakens, will be returning to a galaxy far, far away to co-write and direct Star Wars 9, making him one of only two people (alongside George Lucas) to have directed multiple Star Wars movies. This also means that Abrams will have been responsible for both two Star Wars and two Star Trek movies, which pretty much makes him the reigning godfather of science fiction. Episode 9 is in very, very good hands indeed. 

Star Wars 9: Carrie Fisher sadly won’t appear

Despite Carrie Fisher’s family giving Disney their blessing to use her likeness in Star Wars 9, it’s been confirmed that she will not appear. That news comes direct from Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, speaking at Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017. “Sadly, Carrie will not be in nine,” said Kennedy, “but we will see a lot of Carrie in eight.” 

It’s an especially poignant revelation as General Organa was set for a huge role in Star Wars 9.  “She was having a blast,” Kennedy told Vanity Fair, regarding a conversation she had with Fisher on completion of The Last Jedi. “The minute she finished, she grabbed me and said, ‘I’d better be at the forefront of 9!’ Because Harrison was front and center on 7, and Mark is front and center on 8. She thought 9 would be her movie. And it would have been.”

With regards to writing Fisher out of the trilogy, director Colin Trevorrow revealed some insights to CinemaBlend: “Our options are limited mostly by ourselves, in that there are only certain things that we are willing to do. But I can guarantee it will be handled with love and respect, and all of the soul that Carrie Fisher deserves.”

The Star Wars 9 name is currently unknown

Mere months before release we still don’t know the name for the standalone Han Solo movie – so you can expect a lengthy wait for news of Star Wars 9’s official moniker. (Star Wars 8 was announced as The Last Jedi in January 2017, 11 months ahead of release.) That doesn’t stop anyone speculating, however, and you don’t need a Film Studies degree to spot the naming conventions in the previous two trilogy closers, Return of the Jedi and Revenge of the Sith. Place your bets on a ‘re-’, an ‘of’ and a ‘the’ in the title, then.

Star Wars 9’s filming delayed to January 2018

Filming for Star Wars 9 was set to get underway in July 2017, but was understandably delayed after the passing of Carrie Fisher. It will now begin in January 2018, and according to the film’s casting call, “take place at Pinewood Studios in London and surrounding areas.”

One curious, related note is that an additional scene was added to its predecessor in order to tie in with SW9. Director Colin Trevorrow asked the favour of his The Last Jedi counterpart Rian Johnson, who kindly obliged. “There was one little thing,” he told the Happy Sad Confused podcast. “It wasn’t an adjustment, it was just, ‘Could you shoot this one extra thing while you’re in this place on this day?’ And he did, which was great. But y’know, it’s part of the collaborative process that exists – everyone is in communication.”

The Star Wars 9 plot remains the great unknown

Little is known about Star Wars 9’s storyline at this stage, but director Colin Trevorrow is deep into the process of scripting the end to this third Star Wars trilogy. He’ll have a difficult time topping the finales to Return of the Jedi and Revenge of the Sith, but one thing that can be said with some certainty is that the ghost of Hayden Christensen will not feature. 

“[I’m working with some] brilliant creative minds – Kiri Hart and the Lucasfilm story group, and my producer [Michelle Rejwan] and Kathy Kennedy,” he told Screenrant. “And also J.J. [Abrams] and Rian [Johnson], [and] Larry Kasdan. These are the best minds available and everybody’s engaged in making this the most satisfying and emotionally resonant conclusion that we can possibly deliver.”

The Star Wars 9 release date is now May 24, 2019

Star Wars: The Last Jedi will have an extra Star Wars 9-related scene

Star Wars 9’s director talks ending the trilogy and getting “the most satisfying and emotionally resonant conclusion”

Carrie Fisher will not be in Star Wars 9, but we will see “a lot of Carrie” in The Last Jedi

Lucasfilm boss says Star Wars 9 won’t be the end of the Skywalker saga “if it inspires new ideas”

Star Wars 9 director Colin Trevorrow wants to shoot the movie in space

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