With the announcement on Friday concerning production details for Star Wars: Episode IX came the news that the late Carrie Fisher, who portrayed Leia Organa in the films, would be returning for the final instalment.
Many had doubted the character would return after the beloved actress’ unfortunate and untimely death in 2016. Rumours persisted, however, of digital resurrection similar to Peter Cushing in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story or potential recasting (with Fisher’s long-time friend Meryl Streep’s name often bandied about), but finally late last week Lucasfilm announced that Fisher’s character would return in the form of unused footage originally shot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Said footage would be integrated with new scenes in order to keep the character alive in the galaxy far, far away forever.
In a statement to the press, director JJ Abrams said that “Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without [Carrie] eluded us. We were never going to recast of use a CG character.”
Todd Fisher, brother of Carrie Fisher, had said last year that the production would be using old footage for her scenes, but Lucasfilm Head Kathleen Kennedy had said at the time that he was “confused” and that she “didn’t know” why he had said that.
“If I was in any way an inspiration for the final decision to keep Leia a part of the story, that’s great,” Todd Fisher said in an interview yesterday, “I must say at times I felt like a voice crying in the wilderness.”
The late actress’ brother also went on to say he approved of the move, and of the film’s director, saying that “JJ really made this happen”.
Carrie Fisher will not be the only original trilogy cast member set to star in the forthcoming movie, which begins filming on the 1st of August, with Mark Hamill’s Jedi master Luke Skywalker announced to return alongside Anthony Daniels’ nervous droid C-3PO and the inimitable Billy Dee Williams as smooth scoundrel Lando Calrissian. Returning cast members from the new films have been announced, too, with Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose), Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), and Carrie Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd (Lieutenant Connix) all set to star.
Of note by her absence, a second resurrection for Gwendoline Christie’s disappointing chrome-plated stormtrooper Captain Phasma looks unlikely given the press release made no mention of her whatsoever.
Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, and Keri Russell have also signed on to portray new characters in the film.
Star Wars: Episode IX is currently lacking a subtitle, but will release on the 20th of December 2019. It will complete the so-called Skywalker saga, which has been told across nine films and forty-two years.
Source: Hollywood Reporter