After 40 years and eight films- with the ninth and final episode now in the can – the Star Wars franchise has finally come to an end.
Director J.J. Abrams confirmed the news Friday, tweeting an emotional photograph of his three stars to mark the wrap on filming of Star Wars Episode IX.
“It feels impossible, but today wrapped photography on Episode IX. There is no adequate way to thank this truly magical crew and cast,” he wrote. “I’m forever indebted to you all.”
Star John Boyega posted the same image on his Twitter feed, saying: “That’s a wrap on Star Wars episode 9 and the end to a chapter of my life that I couldn’t be more thankful for. What a process! It really has been a joy to be in these movies surrounded by amazing people. I personally want to thank @jjabrams for giving me a chance to make my dreams come true.”
The photo of the cast has fans guessing what the film’s title could be, which hasn’t been released, and where the film might lead their popcorn-dusted imaginations.
There was a hint however. The released image appeared to have a desert backdrop similar to either Jakku, Rey’s home planet, or Tatooine, home planet of Luke Skywalker.
“Did they go back to Jakku?” and “You guys on Tatooine?” some fans asked on social media.
Production for the film began in August 2018 at Pinewood Studios near London, where several fresh faces joined the Star Wars cast, including The Americans star Keri Russell, Naomi Ackie and Richard E Grant.
Star Daisy Ridley was more succinct, signing off with a simple heart: “That’s a wrap on the finale of the Skywalker saga. #IX @jjabramsofficial@starwars @starwarsmovies @johnboyegaand Oscar Isaac”
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The news also comes soon after Lucasfilm’s recently announced Triple Force Friday event, which is set to unveil a host of new merchandise for the franchise.
From October 4, fans will be able to purchase all new action figures, clothing, collectibles, and books related to Star Wars: Episode IX, The Mandalorian – the franchise’s live action jump to television – and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, an upcoming video game.
Star Wars Episode IX is set to be released December 20.