We're now a little over 300 days to the release of 'Star Wars: Episode IX'.
Currently, there are only a small number of confirmed facts about the ninth 'Star Wars' movie - but there's plenty of rumours and conjecture about what it'll be about.
Right now, we're going to list the facts and then get into the rumours. We'll kick things off with...
WHO'S IN THE CAST? WHO'S WRITING AND DIRECTING?
All the usual suspects are here. John Boyega as Finn, Daisy Ridley as Rey, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron. Mark Hamill is returning as Luke Skywalker, and unused footage from 'The Force Awakens' will be used for Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia. Domhnall Gleeson is back as General Hux and Kelly Marie Tran is reprising her role as Rose Tico. Billy Dee Williams is also back as Lando Calrissian, too.
Newcomers include Keri Russell, Richard E. Grant, Matt Smith, Naomi Ackie and Dominic Monaghan is in there as well. Those are confirmed and verified by official sources, so take them all as gospel.
Bittersweet starting this next chapter without Carrie, but thanks to an extraordinary cast and crew, we are ready to go. 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 pic.twitter.com/FOfnGwVut5
— JJ Abrams (@jjabrams) August 1, 2018
JJ Abrams is back as director, and he's joined by Chris Terrio on scriptwriting duties. Chris Terrio wrote the script for 'Argo', 'Justice League' and 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice'. He also did a rewrite of Matt Reeves' long-awaited 'The Batman' and even adapted Shakespeare's 'Richard II' for James Ivory.
SO WHO'S PLAYING WHAT?
Now, take basically everything from here on out as rumour and unconfirmed. The talk is that Keri Russell could be playing one of possibly two roles. The first is that she'll play one of Kylo Ren's assassins, the Knights Of Ren. The official confirmation for Russell said that she'd be playing a very physical, action-orientated role. That's rumour one.
Rumour two is that she'll be playing Rey's mother, a Jedi Knight who was one of the first trained by Luke Skywalker before he formed his training temple. Yes, Kylo Ren did say that her parents were of little consequence and, yes, the whole central theme of 'The Last Jedi' was that anyone could be a hero. Is it true? Is it not? Who knows.
Naomi Ackie's character, meanwhile, is rumoured to be Lando Calrissian's daughter. A leaker on Reddit claimed that Ackie's character is Vera Calrissian. Again, rumour. If it turns out to be bantha fodder, don't blame us.
Richard E. Grant's role, well, it's a little tricky.
The initial thought was that he was going to play Grand Admiral Thrawn, a character from the now-disregarded novels that came a few years after 'Return of the Jedi' was released. He even seemed to suggest it on Twitter, but this was quickly denied and - as well - you've got Lars Mikkelsen voicing him on the animated series, 'Star Wars: Rebels'. Shave off his beard and he's good to go. Richard E. Grant is NOT Thrawn, basically.
Having him as a First Order officer just feels... a little too obvious, quite frankly. Don't misunderstand - he'd be perfect for a role like that; it's just a bit too obvious, right?
Another absolutely bonkers rumour doing the rounds a few months ago suggested that Matt Smith was going to be playing a younger version of Emperor Palpatine, but again, none of it's been confirmed so nobody can be sure. He's got the bone structure and the Shakespearean thing down pat, and it'd be pretty good casting, but could it actually be that? Doubtful.
And, finally, Dominic Monaghan's is - according to the same Reddit leaker - a member of the Resistance who has some friction with Oscar Isaac's character, Poe Dameron. No more details on that, unfortunately.
DID THEY FILM IN IRELAND FOR 'EPISODE IX'?
Not as far as we're able to ascertain. They definitely didn't film out in Skellig Michael, nor where they sighted filming anywhere along the west coast.
Instead, 'Episode IX' filmed across the sea with our Celtic cousins, Scotland. Confirmed by VisitScotland and Scottish Labour's culture spokesperson Claire Baker MSP, the movie filmed scenes high in Arrachar Alps, near a place called Glen Croe.
What they were filming is anyone's guess as JJ Abrams had the entire place locked down to prevent any kind of leaks. Rumour has it they even had drone scramblers in place to stop people flying cameras over sets.
Some alleged set photos saw snow, and it's also confirmed that filming took place in Wadi Rum in Jordan, which is where 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' filmed a lot of its Jedha scenes.
SO, WHAT'S 'EPISODE IX' GOING TO BE ABOUT?
Hah. Good one.
As you can imagine, there have been ZERO leaks about what the movie will be about. In fact, the only confirmed bit of news we've got so far is that it's set one year after the events of 'The Last Jedi'. That came from John Boyega in a recent interview with Empire Magazine.
Other than that, there's really be no cohesive theory as to what'll happen in 'Episode IX'. One theory is that all three trilogies - that's the prequel trilogy, the original trilogy, and the sequel trilogy - are all going to be tied up in this one movie, with flashbacks and secret filming sessions with Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen back as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker. Another is that the movie won't actually be the end at all of the trilogy, but actually be the jumping-off point for even more 'Star Wars' trilogies.
The thing to remember is that absolutely none of these rumours or theories have been confirmed, and the chances are that none of it will be confirmed until the movie's screened for press and then the public later this year.
DO WE EVEN HAVE AN IDEA WHAT THE TITLE IS OR WHEN IT'LL BE ANNOUNCED?
There's been plenty of rumours. 'Spark of Hope' was one such title. 'Rise of the Resistance' was another. If we look at 'The Last Jedi', the title was revealed almost 11 months to the day of its release - which means we should probably expect to see the title revealed in the next couple of weeks, if not sooner.
Episode IX: A Bunch More Stuff Happens https://t.co/EchMaAp1pW
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) January 21, 2019
As for a teaser, again, going by 'The Last Jedi' and lots of rumours, the prevailing theory is that there could be a trailer coming really soon - possibly even at today's Super Bowl. It's the best possible place for it go, but really, they could put it out at any time and it'd break the internet. It's almost a given that it's going to break YouTube's viewing records for a trailer, the same as all of the other trailers have done, so why not put it out during Super Bowl?
And that's pretty much everything we're able to officially confirm and the most reliable rumours we've gotten so far. 'Star Wars: Episode IX' hits Irish cinemas on December 19th and we'll have the review, the trailer, the teaser and scene-by-scene breakdowns of all of them because we're those kind of people.