According to the Alternative Press, Carrie Fisher will, in fact, appear in Star Wars Episode 9 despite her recent death. As Princess – and then General – Leia, Carrie Fisher had a huge impact on the Star Wars franchise, as well as on the rise of strong female characters like Ripley in Aliens and the Black Widow in the Avengers.
Carrie Fisher’s unexpected illness and death – followed soon after by the death of her mother Debbie Reynolds – was a terrible shock for Star Wars fans and Hollywood. The studio itself probably had no plans in place for dealing with this kind of loss. Finding the right answer to how they should address the issue of Fisher’s death certainly couldn’t have been easy.
At the same time, it’s reasonable that some might ask whether it’s really necessary to have Carrie Fisher in the last film of the trilogy. But this overlooks the fact that the studio and J.J. Abrams laid out a three-film plan involving the main characters from the original films, and Leia is one of those characters. More than this, if the next film – Episode 8 is already in the can – doesn’t resolve her fate, Episode 9 will have to.
There was talk at one point about recasting the role of Princess Leia by using someone that has a resemblance to Carrie Fisher, such as Kate Mulgrew, but the powers that be decided this wasn’t the approach they wanted to use. This was probably a good decision, since audiences might have a very difficult time accepting a new Leia.
While we might expect that Fisher’s appearance in Episode 9 would be accomplished by the use of CGI effects – such as Hollywood Reporter notes Lucas Film used to recreated Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin, the studio has assured us this is not how they will do it. For many fans, such an approach would have seemed disrespectful – especially since Carrie Fisher’s death is so recent.
In addition to these objections, the fact is that the CGI version of Tarkin was very far from perfect. While it was okay when he was standing absolutely still, any time the fake Peter Cushing had to speak it was painfully obvious it wasn’t really him.
The CGI young version of Princess Leia at the end of Rogue One was even less convincing than Tarkin. It looked as though it had been an afterthought and rushed. Given these problems and the fact that General Leia should have an even bigger role in Episode 9 than Tarkin did in Rogue One, it’s clear she can’t be CGI for entirely practical reasons.
Finally, the studio itself rejected the entire idea of a CGI Carrie Fisher in Episode 9 with the following statement:
We don’t normally respond to fan or press speculation, but there is a rumor 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.
Another approach would be to use body doubles from the back, adding front-facing shots of Carrie Fisher/Leia from other footage that was shot for the previous two films but not used. The problem here is that the result is likely to be a bit uneven and awkward.
The best way to bring Carrie Fisher into Episode 9 is to simply recut Episode 8 in such a way that some of her scenes appear in Episode 9. This might take a bit of plot juggling on the part of the directors, but it can be done. And there’s a good chance that this is exactly what they will do.
[Featured Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]