It has been bittersweet revisiting Star Wars with the original cast of characters only to watch them be killed off or fade away into the Force. Han’s (Harrison Ford) death was a long time coming — Ford wanted Han to die in Return of the Jedi — but it was no less shocking and traumatic to see him go. And Luke (Mark Hamill) disappearing into the Force after his triumphant return on Crait was doubly sad considering Leia (Carrie Fisher) is still alive at the end of The Last Jedi, but the beloved actress who played her is not. With Lucasfilm stating that they will not bring back Leia as a digital character, it looks like we won’t be seeing any of the big three in Episode IX.
That’s not the way things were originally supposed to go down, apparently. Hamill recently told IGN that the choices writer-director Rian Johnson made in The Last Jedi vary considerably from the plot conceived by creator George Lucas:
I happen to know that George didn’t kill Luke until the end of [Episode] 9, after he trained Leia. Which is another thread that was never played upon [in The Last Jedi].
Obviously, with Fisher gone, Leia’s training will never come to pass, but it would have been nice to see a little more of Luke in Episode IX, especially in a face-to-face confrontation with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).
The as-yet-untitled Episode IX was co-written (with Derek Connolly, from a treatment by Rian Johnson) and will be directed by Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World). It is slated for release on May 24, 2019