LOS ANGELES: Production on the upcoming film "Star Wars: Episode IX" has started, director JJ Abrams has announced.
The 52-year-old director who is back for the latest installment of the iconic franchise after helming the 2015 blockbuster "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" shared the news on Twitter.
Abrams posted a behind-the-scenes photo from the films set in London and said the occasion is "bittersweet" due to the absence of franchise veteran Carrie Fisher, who died in December 2016.
"Bittersweet starting this next chapter without Carrie, but thanks to an extraordinary cast and crew, we are ready to go," Abrams tweeted.
"Grateful for @rianjohnson and special thanks to George Lucas for creating this incredible world and beginning a story of which we are lucky to be a part.#IX," he added.
Disney and Lucasfilm had recently announced the cast of the upcoming film.
Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, and Billie Lourd are all coming back for the new film.
Abrams has used previously unreleased footage shot for "The Force Awakens" to feature Fisher's Princess Leia in the film.
Billy Dee Williams is reprising his role as Lando Calrissia.
Mark Hamill, whose Luke Skywalker seemingly died in "The Last Jedi", will be returning as well.
John Williams will once again return to score the film."Star Wars: Episode IX" is set to be released December 2019.