The appearance of Princess Leia at the end of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was one of the most shocking, yet still delightful, surprises in modern movie history. But it wasn’t just audiences that were immediately taken aback by the return of Carrie Fisher as the iconic character, because the actress was just as surprised. And it now turns out that she was a little confused, too.
That’s because she didn’t realize that Princess Leia had been entirely recreated using CGI. In fact, she originally believed that director Gareth Edwards and the Rogue One creative team had manipulated a previous scene from Star Wars: A New Hope. Gareth Edwards admitted as much during his recent discussion with Fandango to promote the upcoming home release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
The English director recalled that it was producer and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, who is old friends with Carrie Fisher, that showed the footage to the actress, taking a copy of Rogue One over to the actress’ home just a couple of weeks before it was due to be released.
“Kathy [Kennedy] is really good friends with her. We knew it was a really important moment and we wanted Carrie to be happy, so Kathy went to her house with her laptop when we felt the shot was close, if not finished. We had about two weeks left, and Kathy went around her house and everyone was waiting to hear.”
Once Rogue One had come to an end, and Carrie Fisher had seen the footage of a young Princess Leia right at the culmination of the blockbuster, she then told Kathleen Kennedy that she didn’t realize that they’d used CGI to recreate the character’s likeness for the film.
“[Kathy] said she showed it to her and [Carrie] thought it was footage. [Fisher] didn’t realise it was CGI. She thought we had some footage. She didn’t remember the take and thought we had manipulated a take from the original film. But they told her it was all computer generated and she was really impressed. We were all just so pleased she approved it.”
The addition of Princess Leia to Rogue One became even more poignant on December 27, when Carrie Fisher died. Despite working so tirelessly to incorporate a younger version of Carrie Fisher into the film it turns out that Gareth Edwards never actually formally met the actress. But he did insist that Rogue One is actually “one big love letter” to Fisher.
“I had never gotten to meet her, and I always thought that I’d meet her down the line and be able to talk about this and thank her for it. Sadly, that’s not possible. But I feel like the movie in a way is one big love letter to that moment, and passing that gauntlet to her, and the way she inspired us all as kids.”
Because of Carrie Fisher’s death, and the fact that Rogue One had been able to recreate her likeness so seamlessly, there has been speculation that Lucasfilm might decide to do so with the character again in the future. Lucasfilm were so adamant that this won’t be the case, though, that they even decided to respond to the rumors with their very own statement.
“We don’t normally respond to fan or press speculation, but there is a rumour circulating that we would like to address. We want to assure our fans that Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher’s performance as Princess or General Leia Organa. Carrie Fisher was, is, and always will be a part of the Lucasfilm family. She was our princess, our general, and more importantly, our friend. We are still hurting from her loss. We cherish her memory and legacy as Princess Leia, and will always strive to honour everything she gave to Star Wars.”
[Featured Image by Lucasfilm]