Lucasfilm and Disney brought Star Wars back in a big way two years ago with Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens. The film served as a way to bridge the gap between the original Star Wars trilogy and a new story featuring Han, Luke, Leia, and more familiar faces, but primarily revolving around a new trio - Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Poe (Oscar Isaac). The film's record-breaking success as only increased the excitement and expectations for this year's Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi.
While the latter is still over nine months away from hitting theaters, the studios are already gearing up for Star Wars: Episode IX to begin. Unfortunately, the pre-production process has already seen its fair share of tragic events. Carrie Fisher's death last year shocked the world and left Disney/Lucasfilm having to reconfigure Episode IX, as she was set to play a big role. It now looks as though the studios may have found a solution, as they are reportedly aiming to begin production on Episode IX this summer.
Movie Casting Call (via Omega Underground) has revealed a new casting call for Episode IX that states that filming will begin in July. Production will once again take place at Pinewood Studios in London, continuing Lucasfilm's desire to film this franchise overseas. The casting call only mentions that they are looking for extras for July, and with this timetable not being confirmed as of right now by Disney or Lucasfilm, there is a chance this could merely be preliminary filming that is done before production "officially" begins.
UPDATE #1: Star Wars News Net is saying the summer start date for Episode IX is incorrect.
UPDATE #2: My Entertainment World is now reporting a July 2017 filming start date for Episode IX, suggesting that the earlier casting call may have been accurate after all.
The July shooting date would be more in line with the first filming report to surface regarding Episode IX, where it was reported that filming would begin this April. That was before Fisher's passing however, but a three month delay is certainly possible. Should the movie actually begin production in July, it would have nearly two years to do all phases of production - which is a much longer timetable than the previous Star Wars films have had.
That said, there have also been reports that filming would not begin until the end of 2017, or possibly even wait until early 2018. Both of these timelines would more traditionally follow Lucasfilm's history, and give the studios even more time to finish rewriting the script to account for the loss of Fisher, or have the time to find another actress to play General Organa.
To make this report even more difficult to decipher, Episode IX does not have a confirmed release date at this point outside of 2019. While it was initially believed that it (and all Star Wars films) would hit theaters in May, Lucasfilm has found incredible success with releasing them in December instead. Currently, the young Han Solo movie continues to look to be a May 2018 release, which could leave anywhere from a year to a year and a half between Star Wars movies. Official information on Episode IX's filming timetable may not be arriving for a while yet either, what with events such as Star Wars Celebration 2017 set to keep the focus on Episode VIII's impending release instead.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019