Todd Fisher hopes his late sister, General Leia Organa actress Carrie Fisher, plays a role in next year's Star Wars: Episode IX, but told Variety Disney-Lucasfilm hasn't informed the family of their plans for future installments.
"Yoda came back in the last movie, so why not Carrie?" Fisher said. "In the first film, Obi-Wan says that if he dies, he'll come back stronger than ever. I feel like that's Carrie. She'll never disappear entirely."
The Star Wars icon died in December 2016 at age 60 after portraying the princess-turned-general across five films.
The actress committed to Lucasfilm's sequel trilogy after Disney's 2012 acquisition of the company, reprising her role for the first time since 1983's Return of the Jedi in 2015 franchise revival The Force Awakens and again in its 2017 sequel, The Last Jedi.
As the seasoned leader of the Resistance — the new band of freedom fighters battling against the galaxy's biggest threat, the Empire-like First Order — Leia was immediately established as a key figure in the sequel trilogy that shifted the focus to a newer, younger trio of heroes, comprised of scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley), Stormtrooper deserter Finn (John Boyega) and X-wing pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac).
And it's Fisher's onscreen son, the emotionally volatile Ben Solo (Adam Driver) — half parts Leia, half parts Han Solo (Harrison Ford) — who reinvented himself as Darth Vader wannabe Kylo Ren, the red lightsaber-wielding villain at the center of this latest chapter of the ongoing Skywalker saga.
Foregoing any digital trickery — the same kind used to salvage an unfinished Paul Walker performance on Furious 7, completed after the actor's death with the use of body doubles and CGI recreations — Leia won't appear in Episode IX.
"Sadly, Carrie will not be in [Episode IX]," Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy told ABC News in April 2017.
Two weeks after Fisher's death, Lucasfilm released a statement through the official Star Wars website directly addressing rumors the studio considered resurrecting the actress via CGI for Episode IX.
"We want to assure our fans that Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher's performance as Princess or General Leia Organa," the statement read, a rare instance of the Disney-owned studio directly addressing the rumor mill.
It's unknown if that stance has changed in the year-plus since, and returning Episode IX co-writer and director J.J. Abrams famously plays his cards close to the chest.
Colin Trevorrow, the then-director of Episode IX, told the Irish Examiner in June 2017 Fisher "had a major role in the film," adding the plan was to "keep her soul alive" in what has been called the conclusion of the Skywalker saga. The Jurassic World director has since been removed and his script rewritten by Abrams and Academy Award winner Chris Terrio (Argo, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice).
Hamill, whose Luke Skywalker could return in IX as a Force ghost, opened up about Leia's future in the franchise during a visit to New York Comic Con in October.
"I know they're going to try and find a way to close her story in [Episode IX] that gives her the respect she deserves," Hamill said. "Because [Han] was more prominent in [The Force Awakens], Luke's a little more prominent in [The Last Jedi], and certainly Leia was meant to be more prominent in [IX]."
Kennedy confirmed those comments in a conversation with Vanity Fair, telling the magazine the plan was to have Leia — and Carrie — at the forefront of IX. Immediately after filming The Last Jedi, the producer recalled, Fisher was eager to return for more.
"She was having a blast," Kennedy said. "The minute she finished, she grabbed me and said, 'I'd better be at the forefront of IX!' Because Harrison was front and center on VII, and Mark is front and center on VIII. She thought IX would be her movie. And it would have been."
Last April, the actress' brother told the New York Daily News "the legacy should continue" with his sister's involvement in Star Wars.
"I'm not the only part in that equation, but I think the people deserve to have her," Fisher said. "She's owned by them."5comments
According to freshly surfaced online rumors, IX would see the return of another familiar face from the Original Trilogy who has yet to reappear in the sequel trilogy.
Star Wars: Episode IX begins shooting in July for a December 20, 2019 opening.