Star Wars 9: Release date, updated cast, Lando details, possible plot leaks, title, and everything else you need to know

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Star Wars 9 isn't going to arrive for another year and a half, and both Disney and Lucasfilm might currently be customarily tight-lipped about the whole production, but that doesn't mean that there isn't already a lot to know. Because by Odin's great beard oh yes there is. 

With the Resistance in a beyond-dire situation at the end of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Star Wars 9 has a hell of a lot to cram in. How do the ood guys come back from this? What does Kylo Ren even want any more, and what is the First Order for now? How do characters like Hux and (if she's still alive) Phasma fit into all of this? And just how will the notion of being a Jedi evolve, now that Luke and Yoda have sanctioned Rey to find her own path? It's all exciting, heady stuff indeed, and you can can dig into a lot of the possibilities in out big Star Wars 9 theories article. But for all the production details, the casting info, the plot leaks, and the rumours, you're already in the right place. Read on, and all will be revealed. 

More interested in what's coming out this year? Check out our breakdown of the most anticipated upcoming movies of 2018 and beyond. 

Fast Facts:

  • Star Wars 9 release date: December 20, 2019
  • Star Wars 9 director: J.J. Abrams
  • Star Wars 9 cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver (TBC)
  • Star Wars 9 writers: J.J. Abrams, Chris Terrio

The Star Wars 9 release date is far, far away (sorry)

The Star Wars 9 release date is December 20, 2019. Yes, that's a long way away, but that's just how long it takes to make massive films, alas. And obviously Disney isn't rushing these things - which is a good thing. But still, things are progressing. The script was in place by the early part of this year, and filming is due to start over summer. From that point on, there are bound to be loads of leaks and set photos to satiate your curiosity, if you're into that sort of thing. 

The Star Wars 9 trailer should drop around April 2019

With nearly two years until Star Wars 9’s release, its first trailer is still galaxies away, but it is possible to speculate on when we're most likely to get it, based on Disney and Lucasfilm’s previous PR campaigns for Episode 7 and 8...

The first look teaser for The Force Awakens came in November 2014, a whopping 13 months before it's cinematic debut. After its success the studio was confident it didn't need to convince fans as much when it came to its sequel, so they waited even longer to drop the first teaser for The Last Jedi, which came in April 2017, eight months before its December 2017 release date.

If we assume Disney will follow a similar timeline for the final film, that means we should be getting a first Star Wars 9 trailer around April 2019... unless they decide to wait even longer this time. So yeah... a long way off then. 

The Star Wars 9 cast is expanding with new talent and new characters 

It’s safe to assume that Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Adam Driver will headline the Star Wars 9 cast. It makes sense that Chewie too - or at least Joonas Suotamo who's taken over from Peter Mayhew in portraying the Wookiee on screen - will appear, and as Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose Tico survived the events of The Last Jedi, she’ll hopefully have a role in Star Wars 9 as well. Domhnall Gleeson’s General Hux will likely be in attendance, given his currently complicated relationship with Kylo Ren, as will Lupita Nyong’o’s Maz Kanata, Anthony Daniels’s C-3PO, and Jimmy Vee’s R2-D2, but this is all still unconfirmed. Though very, very likely. 

Past that, it's just rumour and speculation, albeit with some notable weight in a couple of cases. For starters, Variety seems pretty confident that Keri Russell (The Americans, Mission: Impossible 3, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) is in talks for an action-heavy role. Naturally certain elements are already becoming hysterical with the (made-up) notion that Russell is to play Rey's mother, but if we're looking at a significant forward time-jump in Star Wars 9 (which is totally feasible; just check out our Star Wars 9 theories article linked up top), why not Rey herself? Or, you know, just someone new. Let's not keep obsessing over the past here. 

Keeping on rumours for a bit, it looks increasingly likely that Billy Dee Williams is coming back as Lando, but more on that next. Beyond that, a very specific casting call has gone out for a new lead named Caro. Apparently an 'ethnic female' aged between 18 and 26, the production is ideally looking for an African American actress to fill the role. No word yet on exactly who Caro is how how she'll fit into the established cast - though it's a good bet she's a hitherto overlooked Rebel rising through the ranks in the new power vacuum - but she'll billed as "a  leader and problem solver, smart with a great sense of humor and a strong will. All this comes to her effortlessly". She sounds cool. We like her. 

As for those cast members who will definitely (probably) not be appearing: 

Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa - although her character survived the events of The Last Jedi, Disney and Lucasfilm have already confirmed that Carrie Fisher won't be in Star Wars 9 following her tragic death in 2016 (more on that later).

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker - we could be wrong, but given that it looks like Luke died at the end of The Last Jedi, it's unlikely he'll be part of the Star Wars 9 cast. Although, there's always a Force ghost opportunity...

Laura Dern as Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo - her character also died in The Last Jedi and she isn't a Jedi so that's that for her. Sorry. 

Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke - yep, another shocking death and I don't think there's any coming back from a Lightsaber cutting you in half, so he probably won't be appearing in Star Wars 9 either. But again, Force ghost?

Then there's a couple of question marks over a number of other characters... Benicio del Toro's DJ was very popular (despite this betrayal of Finn and Rose) and he definitely felt underused in The Last Jedi, so perhaps we'll see him reappear in Star Wars 9? Captain Phasma, played by Gwendoline Christie, is also a possibility and if you're currently shouting 'BUT SHE DIED' we thought that at the end of The Force Awakens, didn't we? And she still came back...

That's not all though. A casting call for the movie promises fresh new faces 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 - but we'll definitely have some new cast members to become acquainted with soon.

Star Wars 9 cast might also bring back an old favourite 

Lando Calrissian. That's the current rumour, coming from previously validated source Fantha Tracks. What's more, the story has now also been corroborated by The Hollywood Reporter. The word is that Lando is coming back for Star Wars 9, and that he'll be played by Billy Dee Williams. No insight on context, or his alleged role yet, but with Lando the potential is wide open. Chronologically his last canon appearance in Star Wars is in pre-Force Awakens novel New Republic Bloodline, when he sends a message of support to Leia after her family history is revealed. But that book is set six years before the sequel trilogy begins. 

How likely is he to appear? We wouldn't be at all surprised if this was true. The source has been right about things before, and having now featured the entire original trilogy main cast, the sequel trilogy's Lando-lack is starting to feel rather conspicuous. Particularly given that the dwindling Resistance now badly needs support of connection and influence. Plus, the Millennium Falcon is currently flying around without a confirmed owner. Time for Lando to take it home? Or maybe officially pass it on to Rey? Either way, events seem to be very much converging around a Calrissian reappearance. 

Star Wars 9 director J.J. Abrams replaces Jurassic World's Colin Trevorrow 

For a long time, Jurassic World's Colin Trevorrow was officially attached as Star Wars 9's 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, J.J. 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. 

When asked why he decided to return to the franchise, Abrams told Rolling Stone that he originally had no intention of returning, "but when the opportunity presented itself to finish a story that we had begun with these new characters, to tell the last chapter of their story, it felt like there was a chance to do it in a way where we could go beyond, and do better than we did in 7. 

"I learned so much in that movie and I saw that this was a chance to sort of realise something that we hadn’t quite achieved – and part of that was it was simply the beginning of these new characters and their story. The opportunity to sort of take what we had learned, to take the feeling of who these characters are and what they are and give them a final chapter that felt in the spirit of what we begun? It was too delicious of an opportunity to pass up.” Fair enough. 

Star Wars 9 theories range from the probable to the absurd (and 'Rey and Kylo are Siblings' won't stop) 

As with any popular franchise, Star Wars 9 theories are sweeping the internet, making themselves known, and trying to convince everyone that they're true. From Luke's return as a Force ghost (quite possible), to the trilogy turning into prequels for something else (very unlikely), to a couple of similar 'saber swings meaning Kylo an
Rey must be related after all (nah), there's a Star Wars 9 theory for everything, and they range from the probable to the absurd. 

That doesn't mean we're going to ignore them though. We love to theorise as much as the next fan and let's be honest, Disney aren't going to let us know any specific plot details about Episode 9 until our butts are sat in the cinema watching it, so this is all we have. If you too are a fan theory obsessive (no judgement) you can find all the biggest and best Star Wars 9 theories laid out and analysed in the link in the article intro. Happy theorising! 

Star Wars 9: Carrie Fisher won’t be appearing

Despite Carrie Fisher’s family giving their blessing to use her likeness in Star Wars 9, Disney and Lucasfilm have confirmed that she will not appear. That news comes direct from Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, speaking at Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017 before the release of The Last Jedi. “Sadly, Carrie will not be in [Episode] 9,” said Kennedy, “but we will see a lot of Carrie in [Episode] 8.” 

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 [Episode] 9!’ Because Harrison was front and center on [Episode] 7, and Mark is front and center on [Episode] 8. She thought [Episode] 9 would be her movie. And it would have been.”

With regards to writing Fisher out of the trilogy, original director Trevorrow revealed some insights to CinemaBlend, which might still hold true even though he's no longer involved with the film: “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.” Abrams will almost certainly be as limited as Trevorrow and as willing to give Leia the send off she deserves, but how he'll accomplish this remains to be seen. 

The Star Wars 9 name is currently unknown

Just like with the trailer, you can expect a lengthy wait to find out what the Star Wars 9 name is. Unlike most movies, we've got a good substitute in Star Wars 9 and/or Episode 9, so Disney and Lucasfilm are in no rush to replace it with its official title. 

We only found out what the Han Solo spin-off movie was called in October (about 8 months before it's current release date), and The Last Jedi was called Star Wars 8 until January 2017 (11 months before release), so if Disney continue to release official information and promotional material later and later (as they seem to be doing), we'll be lucky if we know what Star Wars 9 is called 5 months before it's out!

That doesn’t stop us speculating, however, and you don’t need a Film Studies degree to spot the naming conventions in the previous two trilogy finales, Return of the Jedi and Revenge of the Sith. Place your bets on a ‘re-’, an ‘of’ and a ‘the’ in the title, then.

The Star Wars 9 plot might well have been leaked in its entirety 

I'll keep this brief and detail-free - because whether you want to potentially spoil the entire movie for yourself is a choice that should be left to you and you alone - but there's a decent chance the whole plot of Star Wars 9 has now leaked online. Reddit user FOOSLS has dropped a post claiming to have seen an early storyboard of the movie, and then detailed exactly what they saw. The thing distinguishing this from a million other 'My mate told me this because his cousin's mum's sister's uncle's juggling instructor is JJ Abrams' stories? FOOSLS made similar claims about The Last Jedi, and was pretty much bang-on with a whole bunch of the plot details. We've got a solid breakdown of the alleged Star Wars 9 plot, as per FOOSLS post, but obviously if you don't want to risk wrecking everything for yourself over a year in advance, do not remotely click on that link. 

As for official details, little is known about the Star Wars 9 plot at this stage, but Abrams has confirmed that there's a script at least. “We have a script, which is a big deal for me.” He said on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert recently. “It starts shooting end of July… Sometimes having the script in advance is something I haven’t always been lucky enough to have… But I’m writing this with Chris Terrio, who’s a genius, and I’m having a great time.” 

Interestingly, Daisy Ridley recently revealed that Abrams actually wrote a draft for The Last Jedi and Star Wars 9 way back when he did The Force Awakens, but that it was scrapped by Rian Johnson. She told French media outlet Le Magazine GEEK (which has been translated by The Playlist): “J.J. wrote Episode 7, he also wrote drafts for 8 and 9. Then Rian arrived and re-wrote [The Last Jedi] entirely. I believe there was some sort of general consensus on the main storylines that would happen in the trilogy, but apart from that, we agreed that every director should probably make his movie his own way. Rian and J.J. Abrams met many times to discuss The Last Jedi, although Episode 8 is very much mostly Rian’s and I do believe Rian didn’t keep anything from the first draft of the Episode 8 script.”

I guess the question now is whether Abrams has gone back to his original draft when writing the Star Wars 9 plot? If Johnson rewrote his plans for Star Wars 8, there's a good chance his Star Wars 9 draft wouldn't even make sense now, but there's nothing to stop him trying to bring the trilogy's story back to his original idea. That might make the overall story a bit clunky to say the least, but hopefully Abrams has found a happy medium between his original idea and Johnson's story. Or just been brave enough to bin whatever he was planning and move forward uninhibited. 

In terms of other tidbits of information about the Star Wars 9 plot, John Boyega hasn't been shy about speaking out, despite admitting he hasn't read the script yet. At one point he hinted that Episode 9 will be "all-out war" and that he was getting ready to start training again, and then most recently, he revealed that Finn and Rey won't be separated for the final film, saying: “I haven’t read the script for Episode 9, but Daisy did shoot me a text saying, 'Oh my gosh, I just heard from J.J. [Abrams], and we’re back together'. That’s what I’m really excited about, is Finn and Rey back together again.” This makes a great deal of narrative sense, given that the pair started this trilogy together. Where The Last Jedi gave them time arpart to grow in their own directions, Star Wars 9 will bring them back together stronger, more learned, and capable of much more as a unit. 

Star Wars 9 news:

J.J. Abrams reportedly wrote drafts for Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Star Wars 9 - but Rian Johnson scrapped them

6 questions the Star Wars: The Last Jedi novel answers about the movie (including how Leia might be written out of Star Wars 9)

Is Captain Phasma coming back for Star Wars 9? Rian Johnson won't say yes or no

Star Wars 9 can't just revel in the past, J.J. Abrams says: "We have to go elsewhere"

Star Wars 9 was meant to involve a "more prominent" Leia, but Mark Hamill promises she’ll still get an ending

Star Wars 9 has a new, far, far away release date: December 20, 2019