Early on in the Star Wars Celebration panel on Star Wars: Episode IX, director J.J. Abrams revealed how they will incorporate the late Carrie Fisher into the new film.
Abrams said he and co-writer Chris Terrio "talked about how to move on" without Fisher, who died in late 2016. They chose not to create a CGI character, but instead used unused footage from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, filmed in 2015.
"You don’t recast and you don’t suddenly have her disappear. We had a lot of scenes from The Force Awakens that went unused," Abrams said. "Leia lives in this film in a way that is kinda mind blowing to me."
Fisher died in December 2016, after she completed filming on Star Wars: The Last Jedi. After her death, Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy and Fisher's brother Todd Fisher made it clear they would not create a CGI version of Princess Leia to integrate into the final film in the Skywalker saga.
“Both of us were like, ‘Yes, how do you take her out of it?’ And the answer is you don't," Fisher said in 2017. "She’s as much a part of it as anything and I think her presence now is even more powerful than it was, like Obi-Wan — when the saber cuts him down he becomes more powerful. I feel like that's what's happened with Carrie. I think the legacy should continue.”
"I’m not the only part in that equation, but I think the people deserve to have her,” Fisher added. “She's owned by them. You don't mess with this legacy. It would be like rewriting the Bible. To me, Star Wars is the holy grail of storytelling and lore and you can't mess with it.”
Episode IX will star Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Keri Russell as Zorii, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Domnhall Gleeson as General Hux, Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico and Richard E. Grant. Carrie Fisher is expected to be represented with footage from the previous sequel trilogy movies and Billy Dee Williams will be back as Lando Calrissian for the first time since Return of the Jedi.
Episode IX hits theaters in December.
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