To mark the beginning of production on Star Wars: Episode IX, director J.J. Abrams fired off a tweet (his first!) directed at Rian Johnson, who wrote and directed The Last Jedi, and George Lucas, who produced Howard the Duck… and did some other stuff, too. “Bittersweet starting this next chapter without Carrie, but thanks to an extraordinary cast and crew, we are ready to go,” he wrote. “Grateful for [Rian] and special thanks to George Lucas for creating this incredible world and beginning a story of which we are lucky to be a part.”
Carrie is, of course, Carrie Fisher, who passed away before The Last Jedi came out. Princess-turned-General Leia Organa will, however, appear in Episode IX, using previously unreleased footage shot for The Force Awakens. “We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” said Abrams. “Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast, or use a CG character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie, we have found a way to honor Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII.”
Johnson replied to Abrams’ message with the just-right GIF.
Something tells me Johnson, who faced an unnecessary amount of scrutiny from a small (but very vocal) number of so-called Star Wars “fans,” won’t be reading the replies. Star Wars: Episode IX opens on December 20, 2019.