Mark Hamill posted a heartfelt note to fans on Sunday about the news that the late Carrie Fisher will appear in the upcoming Star Wars: Episode IX.
Disney and Lucasfilm on Friday revealed several casting notes for the final chapter in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. Included in the next film will be Anthony Daniels, reprising his role as the iconic droid C-3PO, Billy Dee Williams returning as smooth scoundrel (with a heart of gold, of course) Lando Calrissian and a few newcomers, namely Keri Russell, Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant. But most shocking was the news that Carrie Fisher would somehow return as Princess Leia, by piecing together previously shot, unused footage.
Hamill on Sunday wrote that the news was bittersweet.
"It's bittersweet facing my final chapter without her-She is simply irreplaceable," he wrote on Twitter. "I'm finding solace in the fact that she won't BE replaced & would love the worldwide outpouring of affection from those who loved her when they heard the news. #CarrieOnForever."
Director J.J. Abrams has said that he received the full blessing of Fisher's daughter, Billie Lourd (who has also played a small role in the sequel films).
Lourde on Sunday posted a photo on her Instagram account, simply showing herself and her mother on the set of The Last Jedi. She captioned it only with emojis: "✨❤️✨9️⃣✨❤️✨."
Fisher's brother, actor Todd Fisher also supports his late sister's inclusion in Episode IX, saying in a statement provided to ET, "I couldn’t be more personally thrilled and happy that our Carrie will reprise her role as Princess Leia in the new and final Star Wars Episode IX, using previously unreleased footage of her shot for 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens."
"As we, her family, as well as her extended family of fans around the world so believe, Carrie’s ‘Princess Leia is forever entrenched in the franchise and her indelible presence is fundamental to the film," Todd adds. "J.J. Abrams understood Carrie’s iconic role, and he has masterfully re-crafted this final entry to include this unused and very last footage of Carrie ever taken, without resorting to CGI or animatronics. Our family and her fans will look forward with great anticipation for this one! Her force will forever be with us!"
Todd's book, My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie, hit shelves earlier this year.
Fisher died in December 2016, a year before The Last Jedi hit theaters, shocking a legion of fans who knew her as "our princess." She also left behind an incredible legacy of writing and screenwriting, much of which occurred behind the scenes.
Initially, it was thought that her performance in The Last Jedi would be the last we'd ever see her as Princess Leia. This was reinforced by a statement a month after her death from Lucasfilm that her character would never be recreated digitally, like they did with the late Peter Cushing for his character in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Disney also confirmed that Hamill, whose (spoiler alert) Luke Skywalker dies after the final confrontation in The Last Jedi, would reprise his role in the next film, adding some mystery.
The next installment in the Star Wars universe is set to hit theaters Dec. 20, 2019.
For a lighter moment from the set of The Last Jedi, watch the video below.
‘Star Wars: Episode IX’: Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill Confirmed to Appear
‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ Revived After 2013 Cancellation
Billy Dee Williams Returning to 'Star Wars' Franchise to Play Lando Calrissian in 'Episode IX'