What We Know About Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
This is the big one - the final part of the Skywalker saga that launched with Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977 before becoming a generation-spanning trilogy of trilogies. The Rise of Skywalker arrives in cinemas at the end of 2019 marking the culmination of a 42-year old story.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalkerarrives in UK cinemas on 19th December 2019 and US cinemas on 20th December 2019.
The first trailer debuted at Star Wars Celebration.
What will Star Wars Episode IX be called?
The title was confirmed as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker during Star Wars celebration.
Episode IX has had a bit of a fractured development, initially Colin Trevorrow had been signed to direct the film but dropped out before production leading to JJ Abrams eventually returning to finish the story he started in The Force Awakens.
Also released at Celebration was the films first poster, just a teaser revealing little more than the title.
Who is starring in the film?
We know that Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac are all back in their now franchise-leading roles of Rey, Finn and Poe. Adam Driver (Kylo Ren) and Domhnall Gleeson (Hux) are returning to head up the First Order and we also know Mark Hamill is returning as Luke Skywalker even though the character died in the previous film - so expect Force Ghost Luke to be a staple here.
Other actors we expect to return are Lupita Nyong'o as Maz Kanata, Kelly Marie Tran as the brilliant Rose Tico, Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca (replacing Peter Mayhew who sadly recently passed away), Billie Lourd, Carrie's daughter, as Lieutenant Connix and Anthony Daniels as C-3PO.
Billy Dee Williams is to return as Lando, having previously played the character in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi; and also voicing the role more recently in the Star Wars: Rebels animated show.
Exciting new cast additions include Naomi Ackie as Jannah, Richard E. Grant as Allegiant General Pryde of the First Order and Keri Russell as Zorii Bliss. Lost and Lord of the Rings star Dominic Monaghan has also been announced in an as yet unnamed role.
The Knights of Ren are definitely back after their blink and you miss them appearance in The Force Awakens during Rey's force vision scene. Who exactly they are and what they were doing The Last Jedi is currently unknown. It seems Rian Johnson had no plans for them but JJ Abrams is bringing them back in some capacity.
At Star Wars Celebration it was announced that Ian McDiarmid was set to reprise his role as Emperor Palpatine in some way.
Ex-Timelord Matt Smith is or isn't in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker depending on what source you believe. Never officially announced, the rumours continue to swirl about his involvement. During an interview in March when asked about the reports he replied "as far as I can tell I'm definitely not." Whilst not a confirmation it also seems slightly cryptic.
Do we know ANYTHING about the story?
We're going to ignore rumour and speculation here. All we really know is that it will follow on from the events of The Last Jedi and is likely to be set a little while after that film concluded with the Resistance attempting to regroup having been almost wiped out on the salt planet, Crait.
The recently released cover art for the book The Art of The Rise of Skywalker shows us that the intertwined relationship of Rey and Kylo Ren will likely be key to this concluding chapter. The book will be released on 20th December to coincide with the movie. JJ Abrams has been quoted as saying that we will learn more about Rey's parentage in Episode IX. Whether this deliberately retcons what Kylo told her or just shows he outright lied remains to be seen.
Daisy Ridley has previously suggested this could be the last we see of Rey, but that doesn't necessarily mean bad things for the character. "I am really, really excited to do the third thing and round it out, because ultimately, what I was signing on to was three films," Ridley said in an interview with Rolling Stone. "So in my head, it's three films. I think it will feel like the right time to round it out."
She then went on to clarify "I honestly feel like the world may end in the next 30 years, so, if in 30 years, we are not living underground in a series of interconnected cells, then sure. Maybe. But again, it’s like, who knows."
Filming in Jordan's Wadi Rum desert region led to speculation that the film would be returning to Tatooine or possibly the planet of Jedha last seen being bombarded by the Death Star in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It turns out this is a new planet called Pasaana, home to the Aki-Aki people. Also announced is another new snow-dusted world, Kijimi, home to the Thieves' Quarter.
Apparently C3-PO has a larger role to play in this instalment and a leaked poster design, probably for merchandising purposes, does seem to substantiate a long standing rumour that he takes up arms for the first time in the saga, noticeably Chewbacca's bowcaster!
As well as the Millenium Falcon another familiar ship looks to be making a reappearance in Episode IX. Footage shown exclusively to attendees at the Celebration panel shows what appears to be the blockade runner Tantive IV, the first ship we see in A New Hope as it is chased down by Vader's Star Destroyer.
Other than that everyone's guess is as good as any rumour. There are lots of questions still to answer; some fans even want different answers to the ones we've already got. Will the film be as divisive as The Last Jedi proved to be?
How will Carrie Fisher be featured in the film?
Carrie's family were happy for her to appear in the film, despite her passing in 2016. Disney made a commitment to not use CGI to bring the character back so JJ Abrams has repurposed material that was cut from both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi in order to give her a sizeable role and a respectful send off.
Episode IX was originally intended to put the spotlight on Leia having already given both Harrison Ford (Han Solo) and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) the limelight in the two previous films.
While CGI won't be used to recreate the character we expect it to be used copiously to allow existing footage to integrate with new scenes and footage that will make up Episode IX
What do we know about the filming?
Shooting started on 2nd August 2018 which means the film had a 6-7 month shoot over the Christmas period. It is now in post production.
We know that Episode IX finished filming on 15th February 2019. JJ Abrams took to Twitter on that day to mark the final moments of shooting.
It was recently reported that John Williams has already written about 25 minutes of music for Episode IX and is due to start recording next month. He has apparently scene a large chunk of footage and was full of praise for what he has seen.
What has Vanity Fair revealed?
Several months before the release of a new Star Wars film world famous photographer Annie Leibovitz always teams up with Vanity Fair magazine to bring us never before scene images from the production. Usually staged these photos rarely show us actual scenes from the movie but they are always beautiful and packed with new characters and locations. This year Episode IX is no exception. Check out these incredible images: