December 2016 was a dark month for the Star Wars franchise and its fans with the unexpected heart attack and passing of veteran actress Carrie Fisher, who plays Princess Leia in the films. While she was able to complete filming for Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, the producers and writers were at a loss with how to continue or cut Princess Leia's story line.
Lucasfilm already denied rumors that the actress would be inserted in the next film via CGI, just like how it was done in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but Todd Fisher and Billie Lourd — Carrie Fisher's brother and daughter — asserted that her character should remain in the next film. Now Carrie Fisher's brother confirms that fans will still be able to watch the actress in Star Wars Episode IX.
Unlike in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens where fans only got to see General Leia in short scenes, Carrie Fisher's character reportedly plays a significant role in Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. So when she suddenly passed, the production was unsure how to proceed.
Both Todd Fisher and Lourd felt that Princess Leia's role in the saga is too big to be removed so the only answer is to find a way to keep her in the next film.
"She's as much a part of it as anything and I think her presence now is even more powerful than it was ... I feel like that's what's happened with Carrie. I think the legacy should continue," Todd Fisher expressed.
No CGI Leia
When Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was released, a CGI version of Princess Leia was used to bridge the storyline to connect A New Hope and Revenge of the Sith. There had been a rumor saying that the same technology would be implemented for future Princess Leia appearances, but the production promptly shut it down.
"We want to assure our fans that Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher's performance as Princess or General Leia Organa," Lucasfilm assured.
Disney CEO Bob Iger already confirmed that Fisher appears throughout Episode VIII, as intended. Now Todd Fisher reveals that he and Lourd have granted Disney Studios permission to use previously shot but unused footage of Fisher acting as Princess Leia for an Episode IX cameo.
What is not clear, however, is the extent of Carrie Fisher's posthumous appearance. Still, fans will be glad to know that Princess Leia will have a proper farewell in the franchise.