While it might seem callous for this to be speculated on such a short time after Carrie Fisher’s untimely passing, Disney and Lucasfilm understandably have to decide how their going to proceed with Leia considering she’s very much alive and well in the story line. With principal photography already having wrapped on Episode VIII, a lot of the speculation is centered on Episode IX. However, her story arc may very well be adjusted from their original plans in such a way that Episode VIII may need to be re-worked now.
Based on a report from The Hollywood Reporter, Leia was apparently supposed to play an even bigger role in Episode IX than in the upcoming Episode VIII. Specifically, they mention that over the course of the next two movies she was to have two major scenes. Now, this could be considered a spoiler so consider this your warning but honestly, they are pretty much centered on moments you would expect to see. The first being a reunion with her brother Luke Skywalker and the second being a confrontation with her son Kylo Ren.
The next part concerns Rogue One: A Star Wars Story so again, consider this your spoiler warning. In the wake of Lucasfilm and Disney digitally recreating Peter Cushing’s character Grand Moff Tarkin for Rogue One, not to mention the young version of Leia seen briefly at the end, the rumor was that we’d see CGI Leia in future movies. The rumors apparently became so pervasive that Lucasfilm felt it was necessary to weigh in on the matter releasing an official statement on StarWars.com. The statement reads:
“We don’t normally respond to fan or press speculation, but there is a rumor circulating that we would like to address. We want to assure our fans that Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher’s performance as Princess or General Leia Organa.
Carrie Fisher was, is, and always will be a part of the Lucasfilm family. She was our princess, our general, and more importantly, our friend. We are still hurting from her loss. We cherish her memory and legacy as Princess Leia, and will always strive to honor everything she gave to Star Wars.”
Frankly, it’s the right move for several reasons. The first simply being that in spite of how good the technology has come, it’s not 100% realistic 100% of the time. It’s close, and the digital recreation of Tarkin in Rogue One is especially astonishing but as a viewer, you can still tell the difference between a real flesh and blood actor and a digital recreation. More importantly though, is that no other performer could hope to step into that role and truly embody the same strength, wit and compassion that Fisher brought to Leia.
Images: Disney, Lucasfilm