Friday afternoon is usually the time one reserves for bad news, so it’s a strange time to announce the cast of Episode IX, but there we are. There are a couple notable things in here, so if you’re avoiding spoilers, maybe it’s time to stop reading right now.
First of all, I’m delighted to get the official confirmation that John Williams is returning to score Episode IX. He’d always been expected to finish out the main sequence of movies and we’ve already had Michael Giacchino and John Powell adroitly step in on the anthology films. Williams’s themes will be indelibly part of Star Wars forever, regardless of whether or not he’s writing the scores. I hope he maybe contributes a few more themes to the rest of the universe, as he did with Solo.
The main additions are veteran British actor Richard E. Grant and relative newcomer Naomi Ackie, which both seem very positive; looking forward to seeing who they’re playing.
On to the returning cast. Billy Dee Williams’s appearance as Lando had already been leaked; I’m delighted to see him back, though I’m curious to see how much screen time he ends up getting. The surprises are, of course, Mark Hamill (though come on: how could he not show up as a Force ghost?) and…Carrie Fisher, for who they’re using unreleased footage from The Force Awakens. JJ Abrams says in the release that they were never going to recast or use a CG character, but you can bet there will be some CGI involved in translating Fisher’s scenes; otherwise, it would be pretty limiting.
I’m jazzed for Episode IX. We’ve got the longest wait for a Star Wars film ahead of us since Episode VII came out—maybe that will help build anticipation rather than potentially depressing it as seemed to happen with Solo.