When Carrie Fisher suddenly passed away in late 2016, audiences not only mourned the loss, but also wondered what it meant for Leia Organa in the Star Wars saga. With The Last Jedi hitting theaters last December and Leia surviving the adventure, audiences began pondering how Leia's absence in Episode IX would be addressed. New details from the novelization of The Last Jedi might explain why the character won't be present in the new film.
***WARNING: Spoilers below for the novelization of The Last Jedi***
The film's novelization doesn't hit shelves officially until March 6th, but advanced copies have gotten into the hands of fans who have shared details about its plot. The novel reportedly reveals that, in the scene where Leia is exposed to the hazards of outer space and seemingly recovers, she has begun suffering from a lack of oxygen to her tissue and solar radiation. The damage to Leia's body could be so severe that she doesn't fully recover, despite surviving through the end of the story.
Episode IX doesn't go into production until this summer, so audiences have no idea how far into the future the story will take place. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy has made it clear that Leia won't be played by a different actress, with the next film possibly offering a larger gap in the narrative than the one between The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.
Many had thought that Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson would alter the film to explain the actress' absence in Episode IX, and while that avenue was considered, the filmmaker didn't want to modify Fisher's final performance.
"She passed away around New Year's. We got back after the holiday break and went in the edit room and looked through all of her scenes and had a conversation with [Kennedy] and the question briefly arose, 'Do we try and do something? Do we try and manufacture an ending for the character or something?'" Johnson shared with the Bullseye with Jesse Thorn podcast. "I felt strongly and we decided pretty quickly no, we're gonna let this performance stand."
Changing the narrative would have helped Episode IX, yet would have sacrificed elements of The Last Jedi.
"And also because her performance, I thought, was beautiful and I thought that if we did that, we'd have to lose some element of it," Johnson shared. "Whether it was the scene with Luke or the scene at the end with her and Daisy [Ridley] in the Falcon. I want, especially now, I want to leave the movie with Carrie Fisher having told me the words of hope at the end of this movie. I wanted the world to have this performance of hers."
Fans will discover Leia's fate when Episode IX hits theaters on December 20, 2019.
Do you think this would be the sensible end for Leia or should the new film give another explanation? Let us know in the comments below!