J.J. Abrams pays tribute to Carrie Fisher as ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’ production starts

The actor, who played Leia Organa in the franchise, died in December 2016

J.J. Abrams has paid tribute to Carrie Fisher in his first ever tweet as production on Star Wars: Episode IX got underway.

The actor played Leia Organa in the long-running franchise and is set to appear posthumously in the next film following her death in December 2016.

Despite joining Twitter in October 2017, the director had yet to post a tweet before today (August 1). “Bittersweet starting this next chapter without Carrie, but thanks to an extraordinary cast and crew, we are ready to go,” he wrote.

“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,” he added, alongside a photo from the set at London’s Pinewood Studios. Star Wars: Episode IX is currently due for release on December 20, 2019.

Abrams isn’t the only one to have paid tribute to Fisher recently. Her co-star Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker, also described working on the film without her as “bittersweet”. “She is simply irreplaceable,” he wrote on Twitter this weekend (July 29).

“I’m finding solace in the fact that she won’t BE replaced & would love the worldwide outpouring of affection from those who loved her when they heard the news.”

Meanwhile, a jacket worn by Harrison Ford in The Empire Strikes Back is set to go to auction in September, where it is expected to sell for up to £1 million. It is one of a number of Star Wars memorabilia up for grabs in the auction, which also includes over 600 pieces from films including Titanic, the Indiana Jones franchise, Fight Club and more.