When Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was heading into production, director J.J. Abrams made it clear that Carrie Fisher's role of Leia Organa would be created using archival, unseen footage from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, yet when fans saw the finished film, they were surprised to see a flashback scene of the younger character, with ILM Visual Effects Supervisor Patrick Tubach confirming that Fisher's daughter Billie Lourd played her mother's character in that scene. The sequence also saw a young Luke Skywalker, who the artist confirmed was played by Mark Hamill, though his face underwent the process of de-aging effects.
"Billie was playing her mother," Tubach shared with Yahoo Entertainment. "It was a poignant thing, and something that nobody took lightly — that she was willing to stand in for her mom."
The sequence may have been brief, but with reports claiming only footage from The Force Awakens would be used to craft Leia's role, many of us were bewildered by how the scene could have been created. This confirmation about Lourd playing her mother backs up rumors that emerged during production that such a sequence could be crafted for the film.
"It was an emotional thing for everybody to see her in that position. It felt great for us, too," Tubach pointed out. "If you're going to have someone play [Fisher's] part, it's great that it's [Billie] because there are a lot of similarities between them that we were able to draw from. The real challenge was just making the Leia footage we had to work with fit in that scene."
This wouldn't be the first time that Fisher's face had been added to another performer's body, as Ingvild Deila served as a stand-in for Leia in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, only for CGI to place Fisher's facial likeness over Deila's.
Co-writer Chris Terrio previously confirmed that footage from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi was used to craft the CGI likeness of Leia for the film.
"We also had access to the dailies from the original trilogy, and in the flashback of Luke and Leia, that image of Carrie comes from Return of the Jedi," Terrio confirmed with The Hollywood Reporter. "So, we had access to everything in the archive, which turned out to be super helpful. So, yeah, the original trilogy was on our table for the flashback and for audio. That said, Leia was a very different person in the new trilogy, and I'm not sure that we would've used any audio from the original trilogy. Her voice had changed, and obviously, she was older, wiser and had a different quality to her performance. So, I'm not sure we ended up using any audio from the original trilogy, and we tried to stay true to Carrie's acting intentions as much as we could."
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters now.
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