Leia, Lando, and force-ghost Luke oh my!
The finale of the Star Wars sequel trilogy is upon us, with some intriguing casting announcements to hold us over until its release. Lucasfilm announced that the main cast from the critically acclaimed The Last Jedi will be returning for the currently untitled picture, along with some fresh faces. IGN reports that:
“They include Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, and Billie Lourd. Newcomers for Episode IX are Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant.”
Hall of fame Star Wars sequel stars like Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Adam Driver returning is obviously expected. Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose is a delightful person to see return, particularly in terms of the part she might play in the final showdown of the “Skywalker Series.” The new talent on the scene could potentially bring some fun characters into the mix as well, with Naomi Ackie having previously starred in Lady Macbeth (2016) and Richard E. Grant in last year’s masterpiece Logan.
But it’s not these sequel stars nor the new faces that have fans buzzing. Lucasfilm revealed that veteran Star Wars icons will also be returning for the finale. The beloved Carrie Fisher will make an appearance (thank god) as will Mark Hamill and Billy Dee Williams. This is lineup is really shaping up to be amazing with the original band getting back together (sorry Han), though the majority of the plot and in what way they might show up is still top secret.
Deadline reveals that, according to J.J. Abrams, Fisher will appear in Star Wars IX by means of never before seen footage they shot with the actress early on in the new trilogy. This is good news, as using CG can sometimes prove unnerving when “resurrecting” actors. Rogue One’s eerie likeness of Peter Cushing’s Tarkin is a great example of when this kind of technique can go wrong. As to how far they’ll be able to stretch the unreleased footage, Abrams and Lucasfilm may have quite the monumental task ahead of them.
With such a limited range for what her character can do, it’s likely Leia may not have a direct hand in the film’s main action. As for Billy Dee Williams’ Lando, though, we’ll hopefully get to witness the former smuggler’s original actor back at the helm of the Millenium Falcon.
Childish Gambino was a textbook-perfect portrayal of the suave character, but seeing Williams snugly wrapped back in one of his capes will be amazing. Hopefully, Star Wars IX will leave appropriate room for a moment between Lando and Chewie where they get to acknowledge the loss they’ve both shared following Han’s death in Force Awakens.
While Leia and Lando showing up for the closing chapter is enough to rile up fans, the news that Mark Hamill is joining the cast knocks it out of the park. The last time we saw the infamous Skywalker he was disappearing into nothingness, exactly as his former master Obi-Wan did in A New Hope. Now with the casting announced, it seems clear he’ll be in force-ghost form.
In the past, force-ghosts have provided counsel and a comforting presence for Star Wars heroes. Or in The Last Jedi‘s case, Yoda being his typical eccentric (and entirely unhelpful) persona in the scene with Luke and the sacred texts. Here’s hoping for a complete absence of force-ghost Yoda in any way shape or form. However, that scene does prove force-ghosts can interact with the physical world, seen again later with Luke and Kylo’s lightsaber duel, as Yoda conjures a bolt of lightning. This brings up a thrilling possibility for key scenes that may occur in Star Wars IX.
Ideally Luke could help in the final fight, along with giving the standard sage-advice of his predecessors. If he can influence events or elements of the living maybe he could strike an important blow that could change the tide of the conflict. Saving his appearance for the very end could be fulfilling, as it all began with him, but has the possibility of feeling reminiscent of the ending in The Last Jedi.
Luke’s arrival and the fight that ensued was a moment of extreme fervor for fans watching in theaters. Recalling a scene like this could either work well or feel more tired after the hype it first aroused. One thing the franchise should strive to avoid as it concludes the renewed trilogy is predictability.
However, knowing the iconic character is not actually gone forever is undeniably enough to generate a good deal of excitement and speculation. If there was a way to make the footage of Leia work seamlessly with Luke’s force-ghost and Williams’ Lando, Star Wars IX could have a lot of fun with the cast currently on deck.
Star Wars IX will begin filming August 1st and is set to release late next December.