Late last night the cast list for Star Wars: Episode IX was confirmed on the Star Wars website and it is fair to say there’s a few surprises.

Daisy Ridley as Rey

JJ Abrams is back to direct with John Williams returning to score the film, as he has done since 1977. Most cast members are returning as well, including, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo and Billie Lourd.

There have been some new cast members announced too, including Naomi Ackie (Lady Macbeth) and Richard E. Grant (Logan). Some of the original cast will also be returning, including Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels and Billy Dee Williams.

Billy dee Williams as Lando

The biggest surprise is undoubtedly that Star Wars Episode 9 will include Carrie Fisher using previously unreleased footage.

Despite earlier announcements, the film will indeed feature Carrie Fisher. In a statement regarding the choice, Abrams said, “We desperately loved Carrie Fisher. 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.”

Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher as Luke and Leia

I, for one, think this is probably the best strategy. Killing her character off-screen would have been a disservice and just writing her out in the opening crawl would have been no better. I don’t believe anybody would have wanted to see her recast, though people do seem very interested in seeing Millie Bobby Brown portraying a younger version of the character

Star Wars: Episode IX will start filming August 1st at Pinewood Studios in London and is set to be released December 2019.