Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Actress Daisy Ridley on the Challenge of Filming Without Carrie Fisher

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is coming up quickly and people just want to see how this thing ends already. One big part of the film is Carrie Fisher’s last performance as General Leia, and Daisy Ridley freely admits that the absence was difficult to grapple with. She told British GQ, “It was very difficult. It was emotional doing it, because you’re also weirdly picturing her. You’re not picturing how the scene is going to be.” Now, acting alongside people in motion capture suits or just blank space is nothing new for actors in this series. But, this movie had to carry some extra weight because of how huge Leia is to Star Wars. When asked about a scene from the trailer, Ridley explained her emotions hugging the star, “It’s really sad. And it’s going to be really sad. But also, it’s amazing they have all this footage that is woven into the story in such a strange way.” Abrams, for his part, is confident that the star would be very pleased with her final appearance as General Leia. He told Esquire about the Fisher family’s reaction to the film.

“I don’t want to talk about that, per se, because it just — I don’t think it’s quite my place, although I would love to go and talk about it, but I will say that nothing has been more important to me than making sure we do something that Carrie herself would have been happy with, and proud of,” Abrams told Esquire when asked about the reaction from Fisher’s family. “And I feel like we’ve done that.”

That hasn’t been the only occasion where the director has referenced Fisher though. In fact, he told The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that she was absolutely crucial to the final product.

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“We knew there was no way we could finish this Skywalker saga without Leia, it was impossible,” Abrams began. “We knew we would never want to do a digital Leia, and of course couldn’t recast it, and then I remembered we had these scenes that we’d shot for Force Awakens that we’d never used. Which at the time I was really upset that we weren’t using them because it was Carrie and it was Leia and how do you not use them, but it just didn’t work in the movie.”

He added, “And weirdly those scenes were material that we 100% realized could be used to tell her story in this film, so every time you’re seeing Leia in scenes with [other] characters, it’s Carrie in this movie. I still can’t quite believe that she’s gone because we’ve been working on these scenes in editorial and she’s as there as anyone. It’s really uncanny.”