Following Carrie Fisher's passing in late 2016, Star Wars fans wondered how the saga would bring Leia Organa's journey to a close. The actress had finished shooting Star Wars: The Last Jedi, leading many to expect the film would find a way to end the character's adventures before the next movie. When Lucasfilm confirmed that Fisher would appear in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, fans still pondered how Leia would be represented on screen using only repurposed and unseen footage. As we still wait to see how the project comes together, one source claims the digital techniques used to create her performance in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story wouldn't be implemented.
Over at Star Wars News Net, a source reportedly revealed how the process will work. In addition to utilizing previously unseen footage, some shots will be re-purposed for the new film, with CGI only used to modify things outside of Fisher's performance.
“They are combining clips," the site claims their source revealed. "There will also be no horrible digi-double that was used for Leia in Rogue One. This is all being done in what we call 'comp.' There will be some digital work done (aging, hair) so her face and body match, but not the uncanny valley like Tarkin in Rogue One. They will be changing her hair or adding wrinkles as she looked very different between [Star Wars: The Force Awakens] and [The Last Jedi].”
To bring the character to life in Rogue One, actress Ingvild Deila served as a body double on set, whose performance was captured with reference dots on her face to then manipulate to resemble Fisher. When production on the upcoming film started, director J.J. Abrams confirmed the role wouldn't be recast.
“We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” Abrams shared in a statement. “Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast, or use a CG character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie, we have found a way to honor Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII.”
One possible complication is that a report from earlier this year claimed that the film could feature a flashback sequence set after the events of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi with Fisher's daughter Bille Lourd undergoing a similar process to what Deila underwent. These details don't necessarily contradict one another, as it is still feasible Lourd gave a performance as "Princess Leia" while footage of Fisher is merely repurposed for "General Organa."
As to not distract from the final product, we doubt we'll get many details about the process before Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker lands in theaters on December 20th.
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