Production is now officially underway on Star Wars: Episode IX, and director J.J. Abrams is marking the occasion with a sweet note attached to the first “set photo”—although don’t get too excited, as the camera is the only thing in focus. But this being J.J. Abrams, there could be some hidden nuggets within, as you can make out John Boyega’s Finn smiling and chatting in the background with… Poe? It’s unclear, but it’s exciting.
As Abrams embarks on crafting the final chapter of the Skywalker saga, he penned a note thanking The Last Jedi filmmaker Rian Johnson, as well as the man who started it all, George Lucas:
Bittersweet starting this next chapter without Carrie, but thanks to an extraordinary cast and crew, we are ready to go. 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. #IX
Johnson, it must be said, replied to the tweet with a very appropriate Star Wars gif of his own. This is an exciting time, and fans are mighty curious to see how this franchise wraps up. While Lucasfilm originally intended on having three different directors helm these three new episodes, Colin Trevorrow co-wrote and worked on Episode IX for about a year before he was fired. Abrams was then lured back to finish what he started, and he began from scratch, co-writing the script with Oscar-winning Argo screenwriter and Batman v Superman co-writer Chris Terrio.
Abrams shared a lot of set photos and videos during the production of The Force Awakens that revealed absolutely nothing, but also gave fans something to enjoy, so it’ll be interesting to see if he does the same on Episode IX or if this thing’s on total lockdown.
Lucasfilm announced last week the full Star Wars 9 cast, which features new additions Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, and Keri Russell along with the highly anticipated return of Billy Dee Williams as the iconic Lando Calrissian.
The late Carrie Fisher will appear via unused footage from The Force Awakens, with Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, and Billie Lourd all returning as well.
Check out the tweet and image below. Star Wars: Episode IX opens in theaters on December 20, 2019.
Bittersweet starting this next chapter without Carrie, but thanks to an extraordinary cast and crew, we are ready to go. 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. #IX pic.twitter.com/FOfnGwVut5
— JJ Abrams (@jjabrams) August 1, 2018