J.J. Abrams Opens Up About Carrie Fisher's Role in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is hitting theaters in December, so fans have been eagerly awaiting the movie’s Vanity Fair spread, a longstanding tradition within the franchise. The “Ultimate Preview” was revealed today with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) gracing the covers. The publication spoke with director J.J. Abrams about the movie, and he opened up about Carrie Fisher’s role. The actress passed away before filming began, but Abrams was still able to include her in the movie.

“It’s hard to even talk about it without sounding like I’m being some kind of cosmic spiritual goofball,” Abrams explained, “but it felt like we suddenly had found the impossible answer to the impossible question.”

Vanity Fair explains that Abrams began to write scenes around footage from Fisher that was leftover from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, “fitting Leia’s dialogue into new contexts” and even re-creating "the lighting to match the way Fisher had been lit.”

“Bit by bit, she found her place in the new movie,” they wrote.

“It was a bizarre kind of left side/right side of the brain sort of Venn diagram thing, of figuring out how to create the puzzle based on the pieces we had,” Abrams explained.

The piece also shared that Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, who plays Lieutenant Connix in the new trilogy, was originally cut out of scenes with Leia because Abrams worried it would be “too painful.” However, Lourd made it clear that she wanted to appear onscreen with her mom.

“And so, there are moments where they’re talking; there are moments where they’re touching,” Abrams added. “There are moments in this movie where Carrie is there, and I really do feel there is an element of the uncanny, spiritual, you know, classic Carrie, that it would have happened this way, because somehow it worked. And I never thought it would.”

This will be such a relief for fans, who have been concerned about the treatment of Fisher in the franchise ever since her passing in December of 2016. It sounds like it ended up working out as perfectly as it could without actually having the iconic actress there to film.

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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is set to star a returning Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, and Billie Lourd. New cast members include Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, and Keri Russell, and the returning veteran actors are Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, and Billy Dee Williams.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is expected to hit theatres on December 20th.

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