When Carrie Fisher passed away suddenly at the end of 2016, it was a shock to friends, family, and fans alike. The world continues to mourn her passing, as she was laid to rest last week in a private ceremony (along with her mother, Debbie Reynolds, who died the day after Fisher), and a more public memorial is still being planned for further down the line. While Carrie Fisher finished filming Star Wars: Episode VIII over six months ago when principal photography wrapped, the question has already come up: what's next for her character, Leia?
One week ago, we reported that Leia's future would be the subject of meetings this week at Lucasfilm. The character allegedly has a large role to play in Star Wars: Episode IX, the third installment of the sequel trilogy from director Colin Trevorrow, who is also co-writing the story. If that's indeed the case, they need to figure out whether to write the character out, recast Leia, or if they'd want to take a chance on using technology similar to that used in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which allowed Leia to be 19 again, and strangely more relevantly, Peter Cushing's likeness to portray Tarkin once again despite being deceased for over two decades. Of course, with the extreme recency of her passing, this is a very different case.
Regardless, it seems Disney brought the executors of Carrie Fisher's estate into the meetings. During a feature about the digital characters in films including Rogue One on BBC Newsnight Wednesday, they reported, "In what might be regarded as unseemly haste, Disney is negotiating with the actor's estate over her continued appearance in the franchise," StarWarsNewsNet reports. The video is only available in the UK, and Comicbook.com could not directly transcribe it.
What does "negotiating with the actor's estate" really mean? Don't worry, that does not mean Disney and Lucasfilm are contacting Fisher's daughter or brother and asking if they can make a Leia movie digitally. It means they're talking with lawyers, deciding what Leia's character likeness means on a legal level. While BBC's report apparently characterized it as meaning they could or would use her going forward similarly to Peter Cushing, it's far too general, and too early, for those discussions to even be had.
Ultimately, Lucasfilm is in a nearly impossible situation, and one that will be decided by a mixture of executives, creatives, and estate lawyers. Some fans think Leia should be written out and retired. Some think that it's a disrespect to both Fisher and her character if they were to just sweep her under the rug (the argument is a grim one comparing other actors and roles we won't directly relay here). Whatever the case is going forward, these sorts of talks have to be done to protect everyone involved legally.
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