The late actress Carrie Fisher will be featured in the next "Star Wars" movie, using previously unseen footage she recorded for the 2015 movie "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," Walt Disney Co. studio said on Friday.
Actor Mark Hamill, whose Luke Skywalker character appeared to die in last year's "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," will also appear in the next movie, which will start filming in London on Aug. 1, Disney said in a statement.
The studio and writer-director J.J. Abrams announced Friday that footage of Fisher shot for 2015's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" will be used in the ninth film in the space opera's core trilogies about the Skywalker family that includes Fisher's character, Leia.
Filming is scheduled to begin Wednesday at London's Pinewood Studios.
Fisher, who played Princess Leia, died suddenly in December 2016 at age 60 after suffering a heart attack just as she was enjoying a career revival with the re-invigorated "Star Wars" movie franchise that reunited her with Hamill and Harrison Ford in "The Force Awakens."
She had just finished shooting "The Last Jedi" and Leia was to have been the central character in the ninth film in the sci-fi franchise, "Star Wars: Episode IX."
"We desperately loved Carrie Fisher," Abrams said in a statement. "Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us."
"We were never going to recast, or use a CG (computer-generated) character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie, we have found a way to honor Carrie's legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII," he added.
Friday's announcement also confirmed that Billy Dee Williams will be returning to the franchise as Lando Calrissian, a hero of the rebellion who hasn't been seen in the latest trilogy.