JJ Abrams began a new chapter in the Star Wars story with 2015's The Force Awakens. This new sequel trilogy will end in 2019 with Colin Trevorrow's Episode 9.
The Jurassic World director has signed on for Disney's currently untitled movie, and while we're still waiting to find out what happens in Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, a picture is beginning to emerge of what its follow-up will involve.
Star Wars Episode 9 release date
Episode 9 is currently scheduled for May 24, 2019 in the US. A UK date is yet to be announced, but is likely to be the same day, if not May 23.
It's worth remembering that Disney's new Star Wars films have been subject to some serious rescheduling already. The Force Awakens slipped from a summer 2015 release to December, and The Last Jedi was originally announced for May 2017 before also settling on a winter premiere. So a delay for Episode 9 would not come as a surprise.
Filming is set to begin for the movie in January 2018.
Star Wars Episode 9 cast
There's no saying at this point which of Star Wars' cast will survive The Last Jedi, but we'd be willing to bet that Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Andy Serkis (Supreme Leader Snoke) and probably Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron) will all make it through to the final chapter. We wouldn't be willing to put any money down on Mark Hamill either way.
Carrie Fisher's brother Todd Fisher said that the late Star Wars legend would somehow return as General Leia – possibly using Rogue One's unsettling CGI reconstruction technology – but this has been denied by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. Which comes as a relief.
Jurassic World director Trevorrow is on board, and has been assuring fans that the film will be great... despite the disastrous reception of his movie The Book of Henry.
Star Wars Episode 9 plot
It should come as no surprise that we don't know many particulars from the Episode 9 plot.
One big thing we know about the movie is the impact that Carrie Fisher's death has had on Trevorrow's plans for his movie. The director broke our hearts with his confession that she was intended to be at the very centre of Episode 9.
"The minute she finished [shooting The Last Jedi], she grabbed me and said, 'I'd better be at the forefront of 9!'," he told Vanity Fair. "Because Harrison [Ford] was front and centre on 7, and Mark is front and centre on 8.
"She thought 9 would be her movie. And it would have been."
Kennedy added that they "pretty much started over" following Fisher's death, although the script had not been finalised at that point. Trevorrow has promised that Leia "will be handled with love and respect, and all of the soul that Carrie Fisher deserves".
As for Trevorrow's approach to the film, he's been paying careful attention to young Star Wars fans.
"It is extremely crucial that I understand what actual children are feeling about these stories that we're telling them," he told Fandango. "And I think it's important that I have kids, and if filmmakers don't have kids, they should go talk to them, because they don't see things the same way that we did when we were kids."
What's next for Star Wars?
Between The Last Jedi and Episode 9, the untitled Han Solo-starring spin-off movie will be arriving. A third spin-off is yet to be revealed, but is fully expected to arrive in 2020. Kennedy has said that it should be announced in summer 2017.
Beyond that? Disney CEO Bob Iger has said that the films could continue into the 2030s.
"We've got a creative team actually thinking about what could be another decade and a half of Star Wars stories," he told students at USC during a Q&A. "It's kind of mind-blowing spending an afternoon with a creative team thinking about that."
To be honest, there's no doubt in our minds that Star Wars is in it for the long haul, and that Disney will continue to be make these movies while there is still an appetite for them. On top of the spin-offs, one way or another they will push forward with the main narrative, even if the focus moves away from the Skywalker clan.
Star Wars Episode 9 trailer: When can I see it?
Not for a while. The first teaser for Episode VII: The Force Awakens went up about a year before the film came out, so don't expect Episode IX's any time sooner than summer 2018.