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Lucasfilm announces 'Star Wars: Episode IX' cast and it has a few surprises

SALT LAKE CITY — Lucasfilm announced the cast for "Star Wars: Episode IX" Friday and it has a few big surprises.

For one, the cast will include Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams and Carrie Fisher.

That's right. Luke Skywalker, Lando Calrissian and General Leia Organa will all return for the final chapter of the newest "Star Wars" trilogy.

Fisher's appearance marks quite a moment in the series since she passed away last year.

Lucasfilm said the movie will use previously unused footage from "The Force Awakens" to show Leia. The film will not use any CGI nor will it recast the role.

"We desperately loved Carrie Fisher," said director JJ 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."

"Episode IX" will drop in December 2019.

Hamill's return comes despite his character's on-screen death in "The Last Jedi."

Williams hasn't been seen in a "Star Wars" film since "Return of the Jedi."

However, rumors have suggested for months that Williams would return to play the Lando Calrissian role after the character received such positive review in this summer's "Solo." Donald Glover played the gambling smuggler in that film.

Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, and Billie Lourd will all return to the film, having appeared in "The Force Awakens" and/or "The Last Jedi" films.

Naomi Ackie ("Lady Macbeth") and Richard E. Grant ("Downton Abbey") will join the cast.