J.J. Abrams Pays Tribute To Carrie Fisher As Filming On Star Wars: Episode IX Begins

Over on Twitter, director J.J. Abrams has shared the first official set photo from Star Wars: Episode IX to announce that, yes, production has officially begun.

Of all the 2019 blockbusters currently in the pipeline, Star Wars: Episode IX holds a special place in our hearts.

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Why, you ask? It’s the final installment in Lucasfilm’s Skywalker Saga, for crying out loud, one which began with A New Hope all the way back in ’77. Oh, how far we’ve come.

Nine mainline Star Wars movies later and we arrive at the so-far untitled Episode IX, Lucasfilm’s 2019 sequel that originally had Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World) on board to direct before the buck was passed to J.J. Abrams, the creative mind responsible for The Force Awakens.

Abrams and his ensemble cast, which now includes frequent J.J. collaborator Keri Russell and the inimitable Billy Dee Williams, kicked things off in the United Kingdom earlier today, and the first set photo has emerged to prove it. Embedded below, this lime-green pic appears to have been captured from inside the Millennium Falcon with Finn and Rey (?) piloting the controls. It also came tethered to the following heartfelt message from J.J. Abrams himself, who took a moment to pay tribute to the late, great Carrie Fisher once more.

Bittersweet starting this next chapter without Carrie, but thanks to an extraordinary cast and crew, we are ready to go. Grateful for Rian Johnson and special thanks to George Lucas for creating this incredible world and beginning a story of which we are lucky to be a part.

He’s by no means the only one to feel a pang of grief now that Episode IX has entered production; Star Wars legend Mark Hamill honored his on-screen sister just last week, when Lucasfilm announced that General Leia Organa will feature in next year’s sequel in some capacity.

Further details on that mystery role weren’t disclosed, but now that the cameras are officially rolling, it shouldn’t be much longer before we get a better read on Lucasfilm and J.J. Abrams’ approach to this grand finale.

Star Wars: Episode IX shoots for theaters on December 20th, 2019.

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