J.J. Abrams shared his inaugural tweet on Wednesday (August 1), letting fans know shooting has begun for Star Wars: Episode IX, while lamenting the absence of the franchise's beloved Carrie Fisher.
"Bittersweet starting this next chapter without Carrie, but thanks to an extraordinary cast and crew, we are ready to go," he wrote. "Grateful for @rianjohnson and special thanks to George Lucas for creating this incredible world and beginning a story of which we are lucky to be a part." Episode IX is the final installment of the latest Star Wars trilogy, which began with 2015's The Force Awakens and last year's The Last Jedi.
Read the director's heartfelt message below.
Though Fisher passed away in December 2016, her iconic General Leia will appear in the final film. Over the weekend, Lucasfilm announced they planned to use unseen footage from The Force Awakens to reprise the late actress' role.
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.”
Star Wars: Episode IX is set to hit theaters in December 2019.
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