Star Wars: Episode nine begins filming next week, Disney said Friday, in a shock announcement revealing it will feature both Carrie Fisher in a posthumous appearance and series star Mark Hamill.
The final installment of the Skywalker saga — which began in 1977 with “Episode four: A New Hope” — is due for release worldwide in December next year.
It picks up the saga after the protagonist, Hamill’s Luke Skywalker, appeared to have been killed off in the last episode. Fisher’s Princess Leia was still alive at the end of 2017’s “The Last Jedi” but the actress herself died a year earlier, in December 2016.
Disney said Fisher’s role would be gleaned from previously unreleased footage from “The Force Awakens,” with the blessing of her daughter, Billie Lourd.