The Star Wars community was hit with the bad news today that the galaxy's favorite princess is no longer with them. The news has since been the source for a number of updates on the future of the franchise's films, mostly in regard to what degree General Leia will play a role. Reportedly, Fisher completed filming a much larger role in Star Wars: Episode VIII prior to her passing, and was expected to return for Star Wars: Episode IX, but the story will now be retooled to accommodate for her absence.
Recently, reports have begun to circulate that Episode IX could begin filming sooner than expected with Lucasfilm potentially eyeing spring 2017. However, a new report points to director Colin Trevorrow having to wait much longer before he can begin.
The new details come courtesy of Deadline who confirmed that Leia was expected to return for the end of the trilogy, but also revealed that the previous filming timeframe appears to be off. Their sources indicate that Episode IX will not begin production "for about a year."
The timing of the information, which contradicts previous reports could be an indicator of how much the studio will have to rework the story without Leia. Given the path that Star Wars movies have traditionally followed, Episode IX may well have had another large role for Leia, as a general in the Resistance, but also in shaping the arc of Kylo Ren. Then again, the reveal that production may not begin as soon as anticipated may simply be coincidence.
Regardless of whether Episode IX begins production in the spring or waits until winter of 2017, the film should still have more than enough time to finish production without impacting its tentative theatrical release date. Lucasfilm has yet to confirm the precise date for the film's premiere, but it will likely be in either May or December of 2019. The studio has traditionally started production on new films nearly a year and a half before it is expected to bow in theaters. This new start date would still line up for a May release, but with both Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story performing so well in December, the rest of the films may wind up following suit.
Screen Rant will have more details on the production schedule of Star Wars: Episode IX as they are made available.