Last December, the Star Wars fandom was thrown into lull when news broke that Carrie Fisher had tragically passed. The usually excitable fandom took a moment to mourn the unimaginable loss, but the community's grief has fueled countless memorials for the iconic actress. When Star Wars: The Last Jedi set to debut this year, fans feel bittersweet about the film's depiction of Fisher and her final go as Leia Organa. For awhile, fans wondered if there was anyway the actress could be seen in Star Wars: Episode IX - but it seems like the impending feature chose to forego such a nod.
"Obviously, with Carrie having passed away, it shook everybody," Kathleen Kennedy said. The producer went on to stress that the creative team behind the franchise was left to start over from scratch.
"We pretty much started over."
At one point, it seems like Lucasfilm had considered bringing back Fisher as Leia through the magic of film. According to the actress' brother Todd, Episode IX was at one point meant to feature Fisher as Leia via unused footage. However, at Star Wars Celebration last month, Kennedy told ABC News the actress will make her final Star Wars run in The Last Jedi.
"Sadly, Carrie will not be in nine," Kennedy said. "But we will see a lot of Carrie in eight."
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, from writer/director Rian Johnson, is in post-production now for a December 15, 2017, release. The film follows-up and continues the story of the next generation of the saga as Rey, Poe, Finn, and Kylo Ren find their place in the galaxy and follow the legacy of Luke Skywalker, Leia, and Han Solo. Daisy Ridley returns to star as Rey, with other returning stars John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, Peter Mayhew, Andy Serkis, Anthony Daniels, Lupita Nyong'o Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa. Benicio Del Toro and Laura Dern join the cast in as-yet-unrevealed roles.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is slated for release on December 15, 2017. Han Solo: A Star Wars Story hits on May 25, 2018, while Star Wars: Episode IX has a release date of May 24, 2019.