The Star Wars community - along with the rest of the world - is still reeling from the sudden and tragic loss of Carrie Fisher. The Princess/General Leia actress earned fame by portraying the Skywalker sister, but Fisher has become known in the industry as an incredibly talented performer and writer.
While Fisher was incredibly well-rounded in her career at the time of her death, she is still an important anchor to the Star Wars franchise. General Leia was shown to be leading the Resistance in Episode VII - The Force Awakens, a role which she was set to continue through the conclusion of Episode IX. After estranged husband Han Solo was killed - and with their son playing a key role in the resurgence of the dark side - Leia still had a lot of story left to be told.
It was revealed that Fisher had completed her filming for Episode VIII already (as principal photography on the film wrapped last summer), but her untimely death leaves Leia's role in Episode IX in question. The producers now have to decide how to work around the newly-created void.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Leia was set to have a bigger role in Episode IX than in the previous two installments. These reports also state that writer/director Colin Trevorrow will arrive in Los Angeles during the week of Jan 10 to meet with LucasFilm president Kathleen Kennedy to discuss how to handle Leia's future in the film.
There's no telling how the studio will move forward, but ComicBook.com's Star Wars Insider Lucas Seigel has an idea as to what they could do.
"The only other possibility is that there's unused footage of Leia shot for Episode VIII that could be somehow repurposed for Episode IX (again, assuming the character was meant to go into that episode and story) to help give Leia a fitting conclusion to her own journey."
You can read Lucas' full piece on the future of Star Wars without General Leia here.
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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is in theaters now. Star Wars: Episode VIII will be in theaters on December 15, 2017.