Heading into the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker fans knew that Leia Organa's presence in the film would be pieced together from unseen footage of Carrie Fisher from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with one of the biggest surprises being a scene in which audiences saw a young Luke training a young Leia. It wasn't until after the film's release that fans learned it was Fisher's daughter Billie Lourd who was the physical stand-in for that scene, with CGI allowing Fisher's face to be placed over Lourd's, as the above featurette offers a behind-the-scenes look at the sequence being filmed.
The footage also shows Daisy Ridley's emotional reaction to the sequences, as the editing techniques saw the actress have to act across the absent Fisher for sequences that were ultimately blended together seamlessly.
Given Fisher's passing shortly after production concluded on Star Wars: The Last Jedi back in 2016, fans wondered how the final chapter of the Skywalker Saga would handle her absence. Director J.J. Abrams found creative ways to ensure that it was Fisher giving a performance as Leia, with the only exception being the moments in which Lourd stood in for her mother.
"It was an emotional thing for everybody to see her in that position. It felt great for us, too," ILM Visual Effects Supervisor Patrick Tubach pointed out to Yahoo Entertainment. "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."
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 lands on Digital HD on March 17th and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD on March 31st.