Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Originally Featured a Longer Lightsaber Battle Between Luke and Leia

One of the most surprising scenes in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was the flashback to Luke Skywalker training his sister, Leia, in the ways of the Jedi. The scene used computer effects and de-aging technology to make Luke (Mark Hamill) and Leia (Carrie Fisher) appear as they did in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi 36 years prior. The special features included with the home media release of The Rise of Skywalker reveal that scene could have been longer. Those special features reveal that the final cut of the film had removed an extended lightsaber duel between the siblings.

Leia's training scene provided some context to scenes in Star Wars: The Last Jedi where she wields powerful Force abilities. The original Star Wars trilogy suggested Leia was Force-sensitive, like her brother and her father. Luke's training of her explains how she learned to focus it with such focus and power.

Carrie Fisher died in 2016, between the filming of The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. Her daughter, Billie Lourd, stood in for her to create the flashback training sequence. The virtual effects were then added to give Leia the kind of moment some Star Wars fans had been waiting to see for decades.

"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," The Rise of Skywalker co-writer Chris Terrio explained in January. "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.

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"As far as the audio goes, every word that she says in the movie she’s said as Leia in Star Wars. I’d have to talk to Skywalker Sound about which bits were usable exactly as they were and which bits were cobbled together with different audio tracks. We had all the audio that Leia says at our disposal, and of course, every word that she says on camera is really Carrie."

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now available on Blu-ray and Digital HD.

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