Lucasfilm/Disney

The dramatic end to the Skywalker Saga is coming soon.

Warning: This article may contain spoilers and speculation for Star Wars: Episode IX.

It’s time for the Star Wars sequel trilogy to end.

Set 30 years after Return of the JediThe Force Awakens launched a new era for Star Wars and Lucasfilm under the Disney banner in 2015, opening up a brand new trilogy and plenty of mysteries. The Last Jedi challenged everything we knew about what a Star Wars movie can be. And now Episode IX has to weave all of its lingering threads together for a conclusion that’ll satisfy both emotionally and narratively.

No pressure, though.

We’ll have much more Star Wars for the foreseeable future thanks to rumored standalone movies starring Obi-Wan Kenobi and Boba Fett, an upcoming Star Wars trilogy from Rian Johnson, a “new series of Star Wars films” from Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, a live-action TV show from Jon Favreau, and an animated series about the Resistance. (You can see our complete list of upcoming Star Wars movies here.) But Episode IX will likely mark the end of the “Skywalker Saga,” or the main Star Wars movies that tell the story of the Skywalker family, which raises the stakes even higher.

Here’s everything we know so far about Star Wars: Episode IX.

Star Wars: Episode IX title

star wars: episode ix title Lucasfilm/Disney

Lucasfilm has yet to announce the title of Star War: Episode IX, which isn’t unusual for the new Star Wars trilogy. The previous title reveals occurred more than a year before The Force Awakens’ release and just under a year before The Last Jedi’s release. The announcement of a new title can often harbor plenty of speculation and memes, which will likely be the case with Episode IX.

When a title is revealed, we will update accordingly.

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Star Wars: Episode IX news

star wars: episode ix news Lucasfilm/Disney

Star Wars: Episode IX doesn’t begin filming until July 2018, but early behind-the-scenes issues led to a new script as well as a new director.

Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World) was initially hired by Lucasfilm to write and direct Episode IX in August 2015, but he was let go just over two years later (but not before Disney hired another writer to rewrite the script). Lucasfilm announced that J.J. Abrams, who directed and co-wrote The Force Awakens, would take over the project a few days later; he’ll also be writing the script with Chris Terrio. Abrams revealed in a February 2018 interview with Stephen Colbert that Episode IX has a script.

Victoria Mahoney (Yelling to the Sky, Queen Sugar) has signed onto Episode IX as a second unit director under Abrams, making her the first woman and first person of color to direct a Star Wars movie.

Original plans for Episode IX included a bigger role for Carrie Fisher’s General Leia Organa, but after Fisher’s death in December 2016, Lucasfilm started over from scratch, leaving fans to wonder what could have been.

“She was having a blast,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy told Vanity Fair in 2017. “The minute she finished [filming The Last Jedi], she grabbed me and said, ‘I’d better be at the forefront of IX!’ Because Harrison [Ford] was front and center on VII, and Mark [Hamill] is front and center on VIII. She thought IX would be her movie. And it would have been.”

John Boyega (Finn) revealed at Awesome Con that Finn and Rey will be back together in Episode IX after spending the majority of The Last Jedi apart. At the time, he noted that he hadn’t read the script yet but said he believed it would be “all-out war.”

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Star Wars: Episode IX cast

star wars: episode ix cast Lucasfilm/Disney

Lucasfilm has yet to confirm any new cast members for Episode IX, but the end of The Last Jedi left much of the cast ready to fight another day.

The returning cast includes Boyega, Daisy Ridley (Rey), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren/Ben Solo), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico), Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), and Domhnall Gleeson (Armitage Hux). Gwendoline Christie is unlikely to return after Captain Phasma fell into the burning rubble of the Supremacy in The Last Jedi, but following that film’s release, Johnson noted that anything was possible and called Phasma “the Kenny from South Park of this series.”

Fisher will not appear in Episode IX in any form. Her death happened shortly after Rogue One’s release, which featured digitally recreated versions of Grand Moff Tarkin (originally portrayed by the late Peter Cushing) and a young version of Leia Organa (with permission from Fisher prior to her death), and led to speculation that Leia would be digitally recreated for Episode IX.

Lucasfilm shot down the rumor in January 2017 in a rare post on Star Wars’ official website:

We don’t normally respond to fan or press speculation, but there is a rumor circulating that we would like to address. We want to assure our fans that Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher’s performance as Princess or General Leia Organa.

Carrie Fisher was, is, and always will be a part of the Lucasfilm family. She was our princess, our general, and more importantly, our friend. We are still hurting from her loss. We cherish her memory and legacy as Princess Leia, and will always strive to honor everything she gave to Star Wars.

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Star Wars: Episode IX rumors

star wars episode ix rumors Lucasfilm/Disney

The biggest question surrounding Episode IX—apart from the questions it has to answer, theories, and character fates—is not one of “will they die,” but rather, “will they return.”

It seems as though we’ve seen the last of Mark Hamill after Luke Skywalker’s death at the end of The Last Jedi, but questions of whether Hamill will return for Episode IX have followed him ever since. So far, Hamill has remained coy, suggesting both that he’s done playing Luke and that he’d be interested (but it’s ultimately Abrams’ call).

But death wouldn’t limit Luke from returning; he’s witnessed both Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda appear to him as Force spirits, and it’s certainly possible that Luke could do that same and appear before Rey (or even to his nephew Ben).

Yoda is also rumored to return to Episode IX as a Force spirit after his cameo in The Last Jedi.

Star Wars: Episode IX trailer

Lucasfilm has yet to release a new trailer for Episode IX, but we will update the article with one when it is released.

Star Wars: Episode IX release date

Star Wars: Episode IX was originally set to be released on May 24, 2019, but Lucasfilm officially pushed it back after it hired Abrams to direct. It’s not completely unheard of for a Star Wars movie to be delayed—The Last Jedi was similarly pushed back from May to December—but the move gave filmmakers more time after Abrams’ late entrance.

Star Wars: Episode IX will now be released on Dec. 20, 2019

Michelle Jaworski

Michelle Jaworski

Michelle Jaworski is a staff writer and the resident Game of Thrones expert at the Daily Dot. She covers entertainment, geek culture, and pop culture and has brought her knowledge to conventions like Con of Thrones. She is based in New Jersey.

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