Q: One of my favorite shows was “Deadwood” on HBO. Watching that and “The Sopranos” was a ritual for me. Over the years I’ve heard rumors that it’s coming back, but nothing seems to come of it.
Any news? ~ David F., via email A: It’s finally happening! After years of speculation and false starts, at the Television Critics Association press conference in July, HBO programming president Casey Bloys announced that a “Deadwood” movie has been greenlighted. It is scheduled to begin shooting in October, with a tentative spring 2019 release. A big factor for the delay was rounding up the cast at the same time to film the series. As Bloys explained: “All of these people worked hard to get this together. It’s been a logistics nightmare getting all of the cast members’ schedules together, but we are there.”
Q: Has there been any word on what is planned for “Star Wars: Episode IX” since the death of Carrie Fisher? I can’t see how they can work around her death, and they definitely can’t recast such an iconic role. -- Kellie D., The Villages, Florida
A: Carrie passed away from cardiac arrest in December 2016 at age 60, just after she had wrapped on “The Last Jedi.” However, there has been word of a workaround from director J.J. Abrams, and he’s going back two movies in the canon to make it happen. He too knows that there is no “Star Wars” without General Organa, aka Princess Leia. Abrams revealed in a statement: “We desperately loved Carrie Fisher. Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. 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’ (‘The Force Awakens’).”
What that footage is and how it will play into the mythology is a tightly guarded secret, of course, but J.J. did let us know a few details about “Episode IX,” which is scheduled for release in December 2019. Billy Dee Williams returns to the fold in his role of Lando Calrissian; and, of course, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Lupita Nyong’o and Domhnall Gleeson all are returning, with Richard E. Grant and Naomi Ackie joining the cast.
*** Q: Do you have any “Ozark” news? -- Nancy P., via email
A: At long last, the slowburn, engrossing Netflix drama will return Aug. 31 for its 10-episode second season. And from the official logline of season two, you know this season is going to be filled with just as much nail-biting drama as the first: “The stakes are even higher than before, and the Byrdes soon realize they have to go all in before they can get out.” I’m all tingly just thinking about what’s in store for Jason Bateman, Laura Linney and company, aren’t you?