Disney and Luscasfilm Studios have confirmed that Star Wars fans will have one final chance to say goodbye to beloved star Carrie Fisher, with their announcement that Fisher, who died in December 2016, will appear in next year’s Star Wars: Episode IX.
Director J.J. Abrams released a statement shooting down all notion of a possible CGI resurrection for Fisher and her character, saying that the new movie will use “unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII” and assuring fans that “we were never going to recast, or use a CG character.” While this is a popular decision among fans, it also reveals certain clues about the role Fisherwill play in the movie.
Because of limited amount of unused footage, Leia’s presence in the movie is likely to be kept small. What little unused finished exists also limits the potential use for Episode IX. Leia didn’t first appear in TheForce AwakensForceuntil about halfway through the film, and even then only hadfew different scenes and locations in it, notable as they were. Leia was rescuing Han, Chewbacca, Rey and Finn from the First Order, and then at the Resistance base, where she takes part in planning, and later monitoring, the attack on Starkiller Base. Some creative post production work would be needed to piece together old footage of Fisher with fresh scenes of new characters to ensure it makes sense for them to be in the same locations. Former original trilogy star Billy Dee Williams will also return to reprise his role of Lando Calrissian, something that could also help fill the gaps left by Fisher.
It’s also a very real possibility that the extent of Fisher’s role will be in simple flashbacks in order to provide closure for a potential off-screen death for Leia Organa. This could include memories of other characters during her funeral, as many fans have suggested/requested over social media.
Production for Episode IX began earlier this week, with many stars including Mark Hamill paying tribute to Fisher on the first day of filming. The third installment of this trilogy is due in theaters in December of 2019.