Lucasfilm made it quite clear that Carrie Fisher's performance in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker would be crafted using unseen footage from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, though co-writer Chris Terrio recently confirmed that a flashback scene featuring a young Leia Organa was crafted with the help of dailies from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Given the actress' passing in 2016, fans had assumed that Star Wars: The Last Jedi would be her final appearance in the series, with director J.J. Abrams instead using the unseen footage and some visual effects techniques to insert her into scenes organically, using other characters to recontextualize her dialogue to fit the story.
"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."
Shortly before Fisher's passing, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story landed in theaters, which used CGI on the face of a body double to convey the image of the character from that point in the series' mythology. A similar process was done to bring Peter Cushing's Grand Moff Tarkin to life, though Abrams previously assured fans that those strategies would not be used to create Leia's presence in the new film.
Terrio also noted that, much like existing footage was used to create an image of Leia, only previously existing audio was used for Leia's dialogue.
"As far as the audio goes, every word that she says in the movie she's said as Leia in Star Wars," the writer admitted. "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 in theaters now.
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