Star Wars: Mark Hamill Comments on Idea of Replacing Carrie Fisher in 'Episode IX'

The sudden passing of Carrie Fisher in December of 2016 not only left her family, friends, and fans heartbroken, but also sparked a variety of rumors surrounding how Leia Organa would be depicted in the future. The character's fate might be unknown, but Mark Hamill, who played on-screen sibling Luke Skywalker, knows that Fisher, as a performer and personality, could never be replaced.

”First of all, I don’t know what the specific plans were for that character but just the way Han Solo was more prominent in [Episode] VII, Luke more prominent in VIII, we assumed Leia would be more prominent in IX, especially since the dynamic of having Kylo Ren as her son," Hamill shared with Collider. "I think it would be tough recasting Carrie because she is so indelibly linked to that character."

The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson confirmed that he didn't want to alter Fisher's final performance, resulting in Leia surviving the events of the film, positioning her for a return in Episode IX.

Despite the incredible advances in technology, Lucasfilm has confirmed they won't attempt to digitally recreate the actress in any way, leaving many fans to wonder about the possibilities.

"They’ve already ruled out of a computer-generated performance like they did with Peter Cushing [in Rogue One] so, gee, that’s gotta be a really, not insurmountable problem, but I know that the script had been in development so that when we lost her they had to go back to square one," Hamill confirmed. "But she is irreplaceable, you know, as far as I’m concerned."

In hopes of squashing many of the rumors surrounding Lucasfilm's plans, the studio released a statement weeks after Fisher's passing.

"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," the statement read. "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."

One theory is that, during Leia's brief time in space, she suffered irreparable damage to her vital organs, which would ultimately prove fatal. How the character's passing would be handled in Episode IX, however, is in the hands of co-writers J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio.

Fans will find out Leia's fate when Episode IX lands in theaters on December 20, 2019.

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[H/T Collider]