Todd Fisher, brother of late Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher, admits he was a “little afraid” to watch Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which uses footage originally filmed by director J.J. Abrams on The Force Awakens to send off Fisher’s Resistance leader Leia Organa. Fisher died in December 2016, aged 60, one year before starring in the Rian Johnson-directed The Last Jedi, which ended with Leia overseeing a dwindled Resistance that must scrape together allied forces in Rise of Skywalker to end the reign of the First Order, now commanded by Leia and Han Solo’s (Harrison Ford) Dark Side son, Supreme Leader Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).
Because Fisher was told Rise of Skywalker was “emotional,” it left him “a little afraid” to watch his sister’s posthumous appearance, he told The Hollywood Reporter during the saga-ending film’s Hollywood premiere. “It’s one of those good news, bad news things. It’s great to see Carrie again, it’s like a home movie, it’s a great crescendo to this whole thing. I think it’s one of the best things she ever did. So I love what’s going on.”
It was during Disney's D23 Expo earlier this year where Abrams said Episode IX “needed” Leia, described by Abrams as “the heart of this story.”
“We realized we could not possibly tell this story without Leia,” he explained. “We had footage from Episode VII that we could use in a new way. So we were able to use Carrie in a new way.”
Describing the process to ComicBook.com, Abrams said Fisher’s performance was pulled from five or six pieces originally filmed for and then cut from The Force Awakens.
“So it was easy to find those pieces and identify them and choose takes and look at them and see what we had,” Abrams said. “Then it was about reverse engineering those scenes and writing everything around it. Then when we shot the pieces, lighting everything around Carrie so that we were never using a kind of digital Carrie, we were always using her in her performance.”
When Abrams was asked about the reaction of Fisher’s family towards his film ahead of its Los Angeles premiere, Abrams told Esquire, “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. And I feel like we’ve done that.”
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