All Star Wars Episode 9 rumors and spoilers leaked so far

Long before the Star Wars saga reached Episode IX, Lucasfilm made point of keeping spoilers from getting out. The company flat-out refused to reveal key plot details from The Force Awakens and Rogue One to toy makers at Hasbro, knowing that they would potentially ruin the movie. Members of the media have been made to hand over all electronic devices prior to press screenings, and attendees are strictly forbidden from revealing the location. The studio is already taking the same cautious approach to the upcoming Episode IX, much to the frustration of the many fans desperate for answers after Rian Johnson's highly divisive The Last Jedi.

Even the tightest of ships will spring leaks now and again, however, and it's always going to be nigh-on impossible to keep a vessel the size of Star Wars completely watertight. The ninth installment in the main saga (to be directed by the returning J.J. Abrams) isn't due to arrive until December 2019, but the rumors are already starting to trickle through. If you want to go into Episode IX completely spoiler free, this is your cue to leave. But if you can't resist the urge to find out what could possibly be in store for Rey, Finn, Poe and the galaxy at large, you're in the right place.

Rey's real parentage

Speculation surrounding Rey's parentage has swirled since The Force Awakens came and went without revealing the details of her bloodline. In The Last Jedi, Kylo Ren told her that her parents were just a pair of "filthy junk traders" who had sold Rey off for drinking money, but was he being honest? Many suspect that he wasn't, and a new casting call has ignited the debate over Rey's family once again.

According to leaks from ThatHashtagShow, Abrams and casting director Nina Gold are searching for a female lead between the ages of 40 and 50 to fill the role of "Mara," which could be a spoiler pointing to our first clue that Abrams wants to bring Luke Skywalker's wife from the novels, Mara Jade, into play. Mara was axed from Star Wars canon along with the entire Extended Universe when Disney took the reins, but the recent novelization of The Last Jedi revealed that Luke had a wife on Tatooine.

The stars seem to be aligning on this rumor, but will Mara Jade turn out to be Rey's mother? According to his friend and colleague Simon Pegg, Abrams had something just like this in mind when he made The Force Awakens. "I know what J.J. kind of intended, or at least was being chucked around," Pegg told Josh Horowitz on the HappySadConfused podcast. "I think that's kind of been undone slightly by the last one…. There was some talk of a relevant lineage for her."

Return of the Hutts

Reddit is filled with so many wild and wonderful Star Wars "leaks" that the genuine ones can sometimes get lost in the noise. A user named 4LOM claims to have an inside track on Episode IX rumors via a colleague doing some visual effects work on the picture, and they've been sharing some pretty exciting rumors. There's no way to verify these claims, but if what 4LOM says is true, then the notorious Hutt Cartel is set to make a return. The Redditor (full name 4LOM-LucasfilmSpy) alleges that crime syndicates will play an important role in Episode IX as unlikely allies of the Resistance.

"The new Hutt is Jabba's son, I forget his name but it's name dropped when they bring up his title: ' — the Hutt, son of the mighty Jabba.'" 4LOM is of course referring to Rotta, who was kidnapped as part of a plot to discredit the Jedi Order during the Clone Wars. "Rose, Finn, and Poe work together as a trio, apparently their dynamic is solid and 'less cringe,' as my colleague described it. There is a dinner scene with the three heroes and the Hutt Cartel, it was described to me as something like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, with lots of gross foods and a cool musical number in the background."

And so is DJ

He double-crossed Finn and Rose to save his own hide in The Last Jedi, but according to rumors from 4LOM, the burned Resistance members will have no choice but to trust Benicio del Toro's conniving DJ in Episode IX. "DJ is back and involved with the Hutts," the Redditor claims. "Finn and Rose are furious that DJ is involved, a lot of humor comes from their lack of trust for him. Poe sees him as a necessary evil. They are forced to leave early after the FO raids the Hutt hideout, and they leave blasters ablaze, with DJ in tow." The poster goes on to reveal that their colleague is involved with the creation of this sequence, and is apparently very proud of the way it has turned out. "It will feel extremely 'Star Warsian,' whatever that means," 4LOM added.

Judging from interviews that Del Toro has given regarding the character, it seems pretty clear that he's ready to step back into DJ's boots. "[He's] a good guy who's done some bad things, or a bad guy who's done some good things," the actor told RTE. "I like that. I like that you're still figuring it out. I like that you maybe want to know more about it, so do I. I think that he's all of the above."

The next generation

A lot will have happened in Rey's life in the five years since we saw her last, at least according to FOOSLS. The Redditor claims that in the leaked Trevorrow storyboard, Daisy Ridley's character becomes a beacon of hope for all the Force users out there. As the movie progresses, she apparently gets drawn into a storyline that sounds a little more soap opera than space opera, complete with a love affair and a surprise baby reveal.

"Rey and Kylo still converse through the Force and can even manifest their whole presence in front of each other," the poster claims. "It is slowly revealed they secretly love each other. The big reveal in the film is that one of Rey's 'students' is actually her child, and Kylo becomes so enraged upon finding this that he nearly kills Rey, who is only saved last minute by Leia."

A potential future relationship between Kylo Ren and Rey was hinted at in the junior novelization of The Last Jedi, but would J.J. Abrams really go through with this? There will have no doubt been a series of rewrites since the Force Awakens helmer was drafted in to steady the ship, so it wouldn't be a surprise us if this rumored spoiler was the first to go — if it was even genuine to begin with.

Waterworld

The storyboard that FOOSLS claims to have seen apparently went into great detail about a huge hidden planet that the First Order have been using as a giant war factory. It's an ocean world, but beneath its unbroken surface is a hidden door that leads to a colossal workshop manned by the enslaved peoples of countless other planets. To get there, this rumor suggests Finn, Rey and Poe need to enlist the help of a "young female alien prodigy" who apparently knows her way around the Unknown Regions.

"After a successful rescue of the girl, who is essentially a prisoner of the First Order, they discover a planet entirely comprised of an ocean," the owner of the FOOSLS account writes. "Beneath its waters is the secret to the First Order's unlimited resources, an ancient manufacturing station literally powered by the populations of conquered worlds of the Unknown Regions." FOOSLS' leaks go on to claim that the main plot of the movie will revolve around "liberating the captives before they are exterminated and exposing these horrors to the galaxy at large."

A First Order mole

How do the heroes discover the location of this top secret watery slave planet? According to another rumored spoiler, there's a mole in the First Order, of course. FOOSLS goes on to claim that Domhnall Gleeson's sniveling General Hux will resort to feeding information to the Rebellion as part of his efforts to undermine Kylo Ren's rule and usurp him as head of the First Order. His brief attempt at putting himself forward as Supreme Leader in The Last Jedi was literally choked out of him by Ren, though this leak does seem to fit the bill — Hux clearly doesn't like the new boss and given what we've seen from him thus far, it seems unlikely that he'll give up on his ambitions that easily.

Finn, Rey and Poe are supposedly "tipped off by a mole inside the First Order promising that, if they follow their lead, they will discover the horrifying true nature of the First Order… At the end of the film it's revealed Hux is the mole and is trying to get the galaxy to revolt against Ren's empire and believes he can claim the throne after the fallout." He was utilized primarily for comedic value in The Last Jedi (something Gleeson relished), but Abrams is more likely to play it straight and dark with Hux, just like he did in The Force Awakens.

Snoke will return

When Colin Trevorrow parted ways with Lucasfilm over so-called creative differences, stories regarding the real nature of his departure from Episode IX started to circulate online. One rumor making the rounds on Reddit (via FlickeringMyth) was that the director was fired after he argued with the studio over the deaths of Luke Skywalker and Supreme Leader Snoke, both of whom he apparently wanted to use in Episode IX. He lost that argument and his job, too. Trevorrow called it "a very acidic situation" when he later sat down with Uproxx, adding, "Sometimes creative people can't find a shared path through the woods."

In what would be a cruel twist of fate if all this is true, it look as though Trevorrow's replacement will get to use those characters after all. According to YouTuber and Star Wars superfan Mike Zeroh, a more recent storyboard has been leaked, and it apparently features Snoke. "[A] new description of storyboards involves Supreme Leader Snoke and a black-shaded figure I believe to be Kylo Ren," Zeroh said (via the Express). "That figure is holding a lightsaber in front of Snoke except the lightsaber is not complete."

The working title has leaked

Mike Zeroh has also reported that Lucasfilm are considering casting Ed Harris and digitally de-aging him so he can play a younger, pre-scars version of Snoke, perhaps through the Force Vision flashbacks that Abrams introduced in The Force Awakens. This does sound like an interesting idea, but if Andy Serkis has anything to do with it, we'll also get to see the older, disfigured Snoke again in Episode IX. The motion capture wizard has hinted that he'd love to reprise the role, admitting that he'd be "very happy to extend Snoke's life, for sure." The leaked working title of the film might even hint at Serkis coming back.

According to Fantha Tracks, the working title for Episode IX is trIXie. What does that have to do with Serkis? Many are seeing this as a nod to his portrayal of Gollum in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings, films in which he used the term "tricksy" regularly. As leaks, rumors, and spoilers go, this one might seem awfully thin…but the geniuses at Lucasfilm have been fairly tricksy themselves in the past, so it would be a mistake to ignore the possibility.

Back to Naboo

Quoting what he describes as "very credible" French website MakingStarWars as his source, Mike Zeroh recently revealed that Abrams might be planning on returning to the planet Naboo in Episode IX. There were already rumors that Naboo (birthplace of Luke and Leia's mother Padmé Amidala) would be where we'd see General Organa laid to rest, but some concept art supposedly seen by a MakingStarWars source featured the planet's pristine beaches and coastlines, not a funeral.

Of course, Leia is still alive in the story at the moment, though given the sad fact that Carrie Fisher passed away in 2016, most are assuming her character will be retired with some dignity pretty early on in Episode IX. Lucasfilm have already confirmed that they will not be rendering a digital version of Fisher and that she will not be appearing in Episode IX.

This doesn't mean that the Naboo story is a false leak, however. Abrams has previously stated that he wants to tie all three trilogies together in some way with this film, and a return to Naboo would be a nice link to the prequels. Also, Lucasfilm location scouts have apparently been spotted in Spain, which has doubled as Naboo in the past. As per usual, the original source here can be traced back to Reddit, but both MakingStarWars and Zeroh believe it to be genuine intel.    

Has Poe Dameron been Force-sensitive all along?

Disney decided to clean house in a big way ahead of The Force Awakens, declaring that all Extended Universe materials were no longer considered Star Wars canon. The Mouse House then set about creating its own line of short stories, comics, and books to tie in with the new continuity, and one such release might just include a huge clue about a major Episode IX character. In Poe Dameron #27 (May 2018), a conversation Poe has with Rey and Finn seems to confirm that he's been unwittingly channeling the Force all this time.

Marvel's Poe Dameron comics overlap with J.J. Abrams' The Force Awakens. #26 explained how Dameron survived that crash and filled us in on what he did between then and rescuing Rey and Finn from the First Order, but it was the following issue that really got readers talking. In it, Dameron admits that he's been able to tap into some kind of "energy" while flying, prompting both Rey and Leia to suggest he's been using the Force.

The seeds of this reveal were actually planted in the 2015 series Star Wars: Shattered Empire, according to CBR. It's in this prelude to The Force Awakens that we learn how Luke Skywalker gave remnants of The Great Tree (a natural conduit of the Force) to Dameron's parents, who used them to grow a new tree at home on Yavin 4. Dameron even mentions growing up around this tree, further foreshadowing a connection to the Force.

Ewan McGregor 'secretly' filming scenes as Obi-Wan Kenobi?

You'll need to take this exciting Episode IX rumor with a large grain of Crait's finest surface salt, as it comes from an unverified source. According to the tabloid The Sun, Ewan McGregor has agreed to film scenes as Obi-Wan Kenobi for the upcoming trilogy-closer. The Scottish actor portrayed the Jedi Master in Episodes I through III and has already reprised the role in voiceover form under Disney, speaking directly to Rey during a Force vision in 2015's The Force Awakens. Returning director J.J. Abrams and Episode IX screenwriter Chris Terrio are rumored to be keen on uniting the three Star Wars trilogies with this movie, and Obi-Wan's involvement certainly lends to that.

On top of claiming that McGregor will appear in Episode IX in some shape or form, the tabloid also said Disney is now sweating over the planned Obi-Wan Kenobi standalone movie. "Ewan will secretly film for the next Star Wars movie," a source claims. "Disney have been mulling over a standalone film for Obi-Wan. There have been concerns about getting the story right." There have been mixed reports on just how concerned the studio is when it comes to these anthology movies. Collider reports that both the Obi-Wan Kenobi and Boba Fett spin-offs could be put on indefinite hold following the disappointing performance of Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Felicity star Keri Russell has been cast in an unknown role

Felicity might not be J.J. Abrams' most celebrated TV show (both Alias and Lost are ahead of it in those stakes), but the college drama still went on to achieve a kind of cult status in its own right. It followed student Felicity Porter (Keri Russell) as she navigated her way through four years at university in New York, and now the star of the show is set to follow Abrams into the Star Wars universe. According to Variety sources, Abrams and Russell (who last collaborated on 2006's Mission: Impossible III) will be reuniting once more for Episode IX. The identity of her character remains unknown at this stage, but the part will apparently involve getting in shape.

"The role calls for action-heavy fight scenes," Variety's Justin Kroll claims. "Russell has shown her ability to perform tough stunts in projects like FX's The Americans, Mission: Impossible, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Abrams and Lucasfilm execs met with several actresses for the role in the past two months and settled on Russell right before the Fourth of July holiday." Russell's addition has certain sections of the internet ablaze with speculation, with the most popular theory being that she's going to play Rey's mother, but not everyone agrees. Some fans are arguing that Russell might actually have joined the cast as Luke Skywalker's wife, Mara Jade.

Billy Dee Williams is returning as Lando Calrissian

Rumors that Billy Dee Williams was going to reprise the role of smooth-talking smuggler turned Rebel fighter Lando Calrissian in Episode IX took off when it was announced that the actor was pulling out of September's Saskatchewan Entertainment Expo due to a movie scheduling conflict. Director J.J. Abrams confirmed during his February appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that he had his final script and that filming was set to commence at the end of July, so unless Williams happens to have booked another movie that's going to film around the same time as Episode IX, this story definitely seems to check out.

Sources close to the production have told The Hollywood Reporter that the rumors are true, claiming that Williams has indeed signed on for the upcoming installment. If so, it will be his first appearance in the Star Wars universe since he last played Calrissian in 1983's Return of the Jedi. The character was most recently portrayed by Donald Glover in 2018 box office bomb Solo: A Star Wars Story, and Williams apparently had some pretty simple advice for the younger actor. "Just be charming," he told the Atlanta star (via CinemaBlend).

Han Solo is alive in an alternate dimension

One of the craziest Episode IX rumors yet, the theory that Han Solo is alive is partly backed up by the novelization of The Force Awakens. The book was picked apart by Uproxx, and there's a big reveal about the Starkiller Base in there that has Harrison Ford fans speculating on an unlikely return. The book explained what the movie didn't — how the giant weapon is powered. The assumption was that it harnessed the power of the sun, but the truth is far more complicated.

"Turns out, it was never supposed to be powered by the sun," Uproxx's Donna Dickens reports. "Situated in one place, messing with science they didn't understand, the First Order was harvesting dark matter to power their weapon. As the matter congealed to be sucked into the core, the light was supposed to dim. Then, using more science they barely understood, they beamed the concentrated dark matter through the galaxy instead of across it. Basically, they were ripping holes in time/space."

Solo appeared to have been killed by his own son when we saw him last, but there's now a theoretical chance that he was sucked into an alternate timeline before he bled out. One fan who's excited at the prospect is Kevin Smith. "[if it] allows Lando to repeat his Empire Strikes Back line 'There's still a chance to save Han!' and get us back to that fateful bridge on Starkiller Base? Then I'll kiss J.J. on the mouth," he said.

Abrams is bringing an old friend along for the ride

Being good friends with J.J. Abrams has allowed Greg Grunberg to become one of the handful of actors to have appeared in both the Star Trek and Star Wars universes. He was originally cast as an engineer named Olson in Abrams' 2009 Star Trek reboot, but had to drop out due to a scheduling conflict. In the end he did some voiceover work on the film, and went on to appear as Commander Finnegan in the 2016 sequel, Star Trek Beyond. Star Wars fans will recognize Grunberg as Resistance pilot Tammin "Snap" Wexley from 2015's The Force Awakens, and judging from the actor's comments at Comic-Con 2018, he's reprising the role in Episode IX.

Grunberg (who has worked under Abrams almost exclusively throughout his career to date) was invited to the event in San Diego to act as moderator on the panel for From the Bridgea new documentary that explores the evolution of sci-fi, horror and comic book fandom. The majority of questions were for the panel of industry legends that had gathered to discuss the movie, but one fan decided to ask the moderator about a potential return to Star Wars in Episode IX, and Grunberg all but confirmed that Snap Wexley was back. "You know what, we'd better or else my wife is going to kill me for growing a beard," he replied. "I can't officially say anything, but this is getting itchy, and I'm getting itchy to go over there and do it."

Returning, Yoda is?

Numerous disgruntled Star Wars fans made their disapproval of Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi known, but the one thing that everyone seemed to agree was done right was the surprise appearance from Yoda. The little green Jedi Master showed up as a Force Ghost to help troubled former student Luke Skywalker come to his senses and embrace his failures, a standout moment in the highly divisive eighth episode. Yoda was rendered in CGI for the prequel trilogy, but Johnson chose to go back to basics and brought in Frank Oz to operate a slightly updated Yoda puppet.

"We just felt that it was absolutely right and proper that we create the puppet in the closest likeness to the original and to give Frank exactly what he had the first time around," creature designer Neal Scanlan said (via CinemaBlend). Renowned puppeteer Oz (who provides Yoda's distinctive voice as well as his movements) could soon be adding Episode IX to his impressive résumé if a new report is to be believed.

According to the New York Daily News, a source with apparent knowledge of the production has revealed that J.J. Abrams is going to bring Force Ghost Yoda back. "The success of the scenes featuring Yoda in The Last Jedi were huge," the insider said. "Yoda will again appear as a ghost as he acknowledges Rey's success and growth as a Jedi."

Introducing Caro

They broke the news that Episode IX was casting for the role of Mara in April 2018, but ThatHashtagShow had an even bigger reveal just around the corner. According to their sources, the upcoming trilogy closer will also introduce a new female lead. Award-winning casting director Nina Gold is said to be searching for an "ethnic female" between the ages of 18 and 26 to play a character named Caro. The report states that Gold currently has a "strong preference" for casting an African-American in the role.

Kelly Marie Tran became the first lead female character of color to appear in a Star Wars movie with her turn as Rose Tico in The Last Jedi, but a certain section of the fanbase didn't approve of her performance — she was trolled relentlessly and abandoned social media after months of abuse, much of it personal. Hopefully this toxic behavior doesn't discourage top talent from going for the role of Caro, which seems like a fun one.

"Caro is described as having a captivating naturalness and ease to her manner," the insider explained. "Caro is a leader and problem solver, smart with a great sense of humor and a strong will. All this comes to her effortlessly." Speculation over who Caro might be and how she could fit into the story has been rife. Some are claiming that she's going to be a member of the Knights of Ren, though another popular theory is that Caro is actually Lando Calrissian's daughter.  

The end of Leia's story

Lucasfilm's original position on Carrie Fisher's inclusion in future Star Wars movies was pretty clear — she wouldn't be appearing in any. "Sadly, Carrie will not be in [Episode] IX," president Kathleen Kennedy told ABC (via Futurism) before the release of The Last Jedi. The idea that they could digitally render a version of Fisher like they did with Peter Cushing's Tarkin in Rogue One was quickly ruled out after execs met with Fisher's daughter, Billie Lourd. All parties reportedly agreed that it would be disrespectful.

At the time, bringing Leia back with unused footage from The Last Jedi was also said to have been off the table, but things have shifted since then. We now have confirmation from the late actress' brother that Fisher will indeed be in Episode IX, with J.J. Abrams apparently set to use footage shot for both The Last Jedi and The Force Awakens. According to ABC's Clayton Sandell (who spoke to Todd Fisher on podcast The Resistance Broadcast), the family are very happy about what Abrams has planned.

"He's very excited, the whole family is really excited about this and wanted it to happen," Sandell said (via Star Wars News Net). "There are big surprises coming with this movie and with this performance and with this unused footage. This one's really for the fans, he says." Sandell confirmed that there's "a number of minutes" worth of footage from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi for Abrams to work with.

Luke Skywalker's return

Luke Skywalker's death in The Last Jedi left a sour taste in the mouth for a number of Star Wars fans, but director Rian Johnson (who has defended his decision on social media) has indicated that we haven't seen the last of the Jedi master. Skywalker vanishes after helping Leia and what's left of the Resistance escape from Kylo Ren at the end of the movie, passing on peacefully. As The Last Jedi reminded us with the return of Yoda in Force Ghost form, this doesn't mean we'll never see him again.

"I don't know where the next movie is going to go," Johnson told Variety. "But it seemed like the potential of Luke crossing into [a] new realm, that offers exciting possibilities for the role he plays in the coming chapter… No one's ever really gone." According to Express sources, there are two sets being built for two separate scenes involving Mark Hamill. "This may well indicate that Luke will appear as a Force Ghost to Kylo Ren and Rey separately," the tabloid's insider said.

This could also mean nothing at all. At the moment, Skywalker's return as a Force Ghost, while likely, is unconfirmed. Hamill could well be filming Forceback visions, and there's even a theory that J.J. Abrams might decide to actually bring him back to life using a loophole created by George Lucas (an early draft of Return of the Jedi reveals that there's a way for Jedi to return from the netherworld of the Force).

Rey's parents revealed?

When ThatHashtagShow reported that Disney wanted a female lead between the ages of 40 and 50 to play a character named Mara, many jumped to the conclusion that this was Rey's mother. The character (assumed to be Luke Skywalker's wife Mara Jade, introduced in Extended Universe novel Heir to the Empire) does seem to fit the bill, but now there's a fresh rumor about Rey's mom — and it's a real shocker.

According to this theory (posed by Film Threat), Rey's real mom and dad will be revealed as none other than Han Solo and Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke) in Episode IX. We were introduced to Han's first love in Solo: A Star Wars Story, a movie that could apparently end up being all about Rey's parents. "Solo ended letting us know that Qi'ra has ties to the Dark Side," Film Threat's prediction goes. "Kylo Ren is the son of Leia, a mother of the Light Side. Qi'ra, a mother of the Dark Side, bore a Light Side daughter, Rey. It's the Force balancing itself."

Of course, if this theory turns out to be accurate, that means Han cheated on Leia and fathered a daughter with another woman. While this could actually explain a number of things (why Kylo Ren resented his dad so much and why he and Rey are connected through the Force, to name but a few), not everyone is buying it. As ScreenRant points out, "There's been nothing to indicate Han was unfaithful to Leia."

Nine's not enough?

We've already covered the possible returns of Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, Snoke, the Hutt Clan, and even Han Solo. Then there's Mara and Caro, two new characters who are set to make their debuts according to leaked casting calls. Even if just a small fraction of these rumors turn out to be true, J.J. Abrams is going to have his plate full to the brim with Episode IX. The director will have to dedicate plenty of time to rounding out the stories of main characters Rey, Finn and Poe, and he'll also be looking to give Leia the sendoff she deserves. All of this amounts to one thing — the trilogy closer is going to be really, really long.

The Last Jedi is the current title holder with a sizeable runtime of 2 hours and 32 minutes, but the upcoming sequel is shaping up to smash that record. In fact, reports suggest that Episode IX could end up being so long that studio heads are said to be thinking about doing something drastic — something that will no doubt divide opinion among an already easily divided fan base. "Disney and Lucasfilm are reportedly considering a Hunger Games move, chopping this final sequel into two parts," MovieWeb reports. "Star Wars 9 sounds like it's trying to be the Infinity War of the Lucasfilm universe."

Is Naomi Ackie playing Caro?

In April 2018, That Hashtag Show revealed that Episode IX casting director Nina Gold was on the hunt for a new female lead. A source close to the production confirmed that she wanted an "ethnic female" between the ages of 18 and 26 to play a character named Caro, described as having "a captivating naturalness and ease to her manner" by the insider. "Caro is a leader and problem solver, smart with a great sense of humor and a strong will," the source added.

The report stated that Gold had a "strong preference" for an African-American actress, but it appears as though the part has gone to someone most people won't have heard of. In keeping with the Star Wars tradition of plucking young actors from obscurity, Disney has taken a chance on Naomi Ackie. She's probably best-known for a 2015 appearance on Doctor Who, but more recently Ackie was named Most Promising Newcomer at the 2017 BIFAs for her work in the 2016 film adaptation of Lady Macbeth. Eager to take advantage of that promise, Gold invited her aboard along with a few familiar faces for good measure.

There's no official confirmation that Ackie is playing the rumored Caro character, but leaked set photos (via Digital Spy) do seem to support this theory. The images show Ackie traversing a grassy landscape with Finn, Poe Dameron and an armed Chewbacca, all prominent members of the severely depleted Resistance. Judging from her character description, Caro would be a welcome addition.

Could Darth Vader make a shocking return?

The idea of Darth Vader returning to the big screen in Episode IX might seem ludicrous on the surface, but it seems Disney has been subtly paving the way for the heavy-breathing Sith Lord to play some part in the upcoming installment. After reading Marvel's Darth Vader comics (which chronicle the villain's first years working under the Emperor), ScreenRant noticed one small detail that could have actually been a huge moment of foreshadowing.

The ins and outs of becoming a Force Ghost have been up for discussion among Star Wars fans ever since Luke Skywalker passed on in controversial fashion at the end of The Last Jedi. The assumption was that returning as a Force Ghost was something only those in tune with the light side of the Force could do, but shouldn't the Sith have their own version of this phenomenon? Turns out they do, and it was explained in the pages of the Vader comic.

In the story in question, Vader is gifted a mask that once belonged to another powerful Sith called Darth Momin. Momin's "residue" was still attached to the artifact when Palpatine gave it to his third and final apprentice, who used it — long story — to help erect his castle on Mustafar. The forgotten Sith was able to influence others, and tell his story to Vader, via the mask. ScreenRant's prediction is that Vader will similarly influence proceedings in Episode IX, seeing as his grandson Kylo Ren is now in possession of Vader's half-melted mask.

Ed Sheeran has reportedly filmed a cameo

The backlash that Ed Sheeran received following his Game of Thrones appearance ought to have put him off cameos for life, but if rumors circulating in the British press are to be believed, the award-winning singer-songwriter has filmed a scene for Episode IX. Sheeran abandoned his Twitter account after irate Game of Thrones fans told him exactly what they thought about him popping up as a Lannister soldier in the season 7 opener, but if he thinks Star Wars fans will be any more accommodating, he'd better think again.

Kelly Marie Tran quit Twitter and Instagram after a small but vocal minority of Star Wars fans trolled her relentlessly, showering her with abuse (some of it racial) because they hated her in The Last Jedi. Luckily for Sheeran, fans won't be able to spot his mystery scene in the upcoming Star Wars installment, because his famous red hair will be hidden — he's playing a stormtrooper. "I can reveal the world's most successful male singer has been seen suiting up for scenes to appear in Episode IX, which has been filming at Pinewood Studios since August," Dan Wootton, executive editor of The Sun, confirmed.

Sheeran won't be the first famous Englishman to don the iconic white uniform on the sly; Princes William and Harry were in The Last Jedi, though their scene only made the home version as an extra. According to London's Evening Standard, the royals were cut out of the final movie because they were too tall to be stormtroopers.

John Boyega confirms a time jump?

In May 2018, a Redditor with an impressive track record when it comes to spoilers (they accurately predicted the casino sub-pot, Luke's disenchantment with the Force and Kylo Ren killing Snoke in The Last Jedi) claimed to have seen a "very early storyboard" for Episode IX. This alleged storyboard begins some five years after the events of The Last Jedi, and in that time, Kylo Ren has managed to hoodwink the entire galaxy.

"Kylo Ren's rule over the galaxy is seen by most as benevolent," FOOSLS claims. "Many within the Resistance itself are questioning why they should even be fighting." This post came hot on the heels of John Boyega teasing that Finn would have a new hairdo in Episode IX. "I can't wait to start shooting the next and final leg of the franchise," he told Yahoo (via Screen Rant). "The first step is growing out my hair, so you can wait for the trailer to see why."

This all but confirmed that we'll catch up with Finn and the surviving members of the Resistance sometime in the future, but will five years really have passed? Not according to Empire. "John Boyega has confirmed [Episode IX] takes place one year after the events of The Last Jedi," the magazine states in its official 2019 preview (via Star Wars Stuff). There's no direct quote from the actor, but the respected movie mag is reporting this as fact, so take from it what you will.