Episode 9 begins filming in just a couple of days and we have finally had the cast announced. Per the report on StarWars.com Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo and Billie Lourd will be returning. Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant and Keri Russell will also be joining the cast and we will have some returning veterans in the form of Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams and Carrie Fisher – who will feature using previously unseen footage from The Force Awakens. With this news breaking, I wanted to give my thoughts on the announcement.
First off, I am so glad that the toxicity of parts of the fandom – though personally I think that some of the response has been from cretins that don’t care about the saga and just want to cause trouble – has not driven Kelly Marie Tran away from the saga! Though she was by no means my favourite part of The Last Jedi, Tran’s character of Rose has every reason to still be a part of the saga moving forward and I hope her role in Episode 9 will begin to win over the haters.
The rumours have been circulating for a while but we now have official confirmation that Billy Dee Williams will be returning as Lando Calrissian. Personally, I don’t see how anyone can be disappointed by that news! Seeing Lando in the Falcon again, will be a wonderful moment and though many of the new characters may have limited knowledge of him, it will be nice to see some interaction between him and old comrades Chewie and Nien Nunb, while Lando’s past as a General in the Rebel Alliance will also make it interesting to see how he and Poe look together. I’m going to keep hoping that another of his old comrades, Shriv, features in the film as I loved the way the 2 characters worked together in the single player campaign for Star Wars Battlefront II.
The big news obviously is that Leia will appear in the film, still played by Carrie Fisher using footage not used in The Force Awakens. I’m so glad that they chose not to recast as Carrie is synonymous with Leia and it would have been so hard for fans to get used to someone else in the role. I was expecting the story to give a reason that the character would not feature, or at most a CG Leia in hologram form, so I am interested to see how this pans out given the footage is not even from the most recent film. JJ Abrams will know what he is working with though, so I trust him to know what he can do with the character. I would never have thought this before, but now I get the feeling that the character will survive the movie, though I doubt she will feature in more than a couple of scenes and Lando will be taking on the role of the experienced former Rebel leader.
Moving on to the other Skywalker sibling and while I think we all expected Luke to return in some capacity, it is nice to have that confirmed (or so we’d assume) with Mark Hamill named on the list. I’m sure we’ll see Rey converse with a Force ghost of Luke at some point during the movie and personally, I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen to cameo as Force ghosts. JJ Abrams has said that he intends to tie all 3 trilogies together in this film, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
I really enjoyed Maz Kanata in The Force Awakens but was really disappointed in the way she was used in The Last Jedi. I’m glad to see Nyong’o named in this cast announcement and hope that her character is used more in this film. I must also admit that I am happy to not see Gwendoline Christie’s name not on the list, as the Phasma character has been disappointing and I think it would be cheap to bring the character back after what appeared to be yet another death following her unexplained (in the movies) survival of the trash compactor and destruction of Starkiller Base, only to die again during the destruction of the Supremacy. I think between Snoke, Phasma, Kylo and Hux, there have been too many big bad guys in the first 2 movies and that has harmed the character development for some of them. I would rather they now focus on Kylo Ren and Hux in Episode 9, though I can’t help but feel Richard E. Grant would look perfect in a First Order officer’s uniform.
What are your thoughts on the cast announcement? Do you think they’ve made the right decision about using Carrie Fisher? Let me know below. Thanks for reading and May the Force be with you…