Update: Check out our new page, Star Wars 9: Everything You Need To Know for up-to-date Episode IX info!
With Star Wars: Episode IX two years away, we're taking a look at everything we know for sure about it. It's going to be a long wait until we see the concluding chapter in the new trilogy, but that just gives us plenty of time to digest what we've just seen in Episode VIII and speculate on what will happen next. The Last Jedi just took the world by storm last weekend, racking up $450 million at the box office. The rave reviews it earned along the way were scoffed at by a surprisingly large number of fans, however.
The Last Jedi is quickly proving to be the most divisive Star Wars movie since The Phantom Menace. While half of the fanbase aligned with the critical consensus (for the most part), the other half loudly objected to, well, pretty much everything they saw on screen. Though there aren't quite as many plot holes in TLJ as the detractors would have you believe, it certainly left Episode IX with a relatively clean slate. Virtually anything can happen in the last entry in the new trilogy.
Related: Star Wars 9 Should End The Saga
There's no two ways about it: just about every single fan theory regarding TLJ was dead wrong. So rather than speculate about what we think the next film will be about, we're here today to lay out the facts. Here's Everything We Know For Sure About Star Wars: Episode 9.
First things first: no, Episode IX does not have a full title yet. The Force Awakens' title was announced in November 2014 (13 months before its premiere), while The Last Jedi's was confirmed this past January (11 months). We can expect Lucasfilm to follow a similar pattern with the third film in the trilogy, so the full title should be announced somewhere between November of next year and January of 2019. That's because IX is currently scheduled to hit theaters precisely two years from today, on December 20th, 2019.
Related: Episode IX Working Title Revealed
Filming on the project is set to begin next June, and a familiar face will be calling the shots. TFA director J.J. Abrams was brought back on board to helm Episode IX after Colin Trevorrow was let go. Abrams hadn’t planned on returning after heading up Episode 7, though he's since described the chance to conclude the trilogy he kickstarted as “too delicious of an opportunity to pass up.” Co-writing duties on the film fall to Chris Terrio, best known for the Oscar-winning screenplay he penned for Argo. Terrio's other screenwriting credits include Batman v Superman and Justice League. Take from that what you will.
With Episode IX a full 730 days away, its cast is far from set in stone. As of now, in fact, only four actors are officially confirmed to return: Daisy Ridley (Rey), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), John Boyega (Finn), and Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron). The rest of the cast will be rounded out in the coming months. The wait for the first trailer, however, will be much longer. Based on the trailer debuts of the previous episodes, you can expect to see the first footage of IX sometime between November of next year and April of 2019.
Ready for a gut punch? If it weren't for Carrie Fisher's unexpected passing, Leia would have been front and center in the trilogy's concluding chapter. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy has even said that the project essentially "started over" after her death. Episode IX was rebooted again once Trevorrow left, and the script is currently being drafted up by Abrams and Terrio. Since the film is two full years away, next to nothing is known for sure about its plot. So here's where we stand following The Last Jedi:
With Snoke out of the picture, Kylo Ren will serve as the main villain of Episode IX. He came a long way in TLJ, and he's arguably one knockout performance away from becoming the Star Wars saga's greatest villain not named Darth Vader. On the other side of the Force, Rey stands as the last Jedi now that Luke is dead. She doesn't have nearly the support that Kylo does, though, as the Resistance has dwindled to roughly a dozen individuals. With the Rebellion on its last legs, IX will be a David vs. Goliath tale, if nothing else.
Honestly, that's just about all we can really say for certain about Episode IX's story. It could be a while before we know more details, since the script is still being ironed out. We'd be willing to bet the house that we'll get one last lightsaber showdown between Rey and Kylo, though. That has to happen at some point, right? RIGHT?!
Oh, and [spoiler alert?] we probably haven't seen the last of Luke Skywalker. Hurray!
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019