Death Of Carrie Fisher Could Mean $50 Million Windfall For Disney

The December 26 death of Carrie Fisher shocked the world, even amid a record-breaking year for celebrity deaths. The shock turned to horror when the 60-year-old actress and activist was unexpectedly joined in death by her Hollywood royalty mother the very next day. Many believe that 84-year-old Debbie Reynolds succumbed to a “broken heart” when she suffered a medical emergency, reportedly while planning Carrie Fisher’s funeral, and never recovered.

Carrie suffered a massive heart attack on December 23 near the end of a transatlantic flight to Los Angeles. Reportedly, she was given medical aid on the plane for roughly 15 minutes before the flight landed. At that time, Carrie Fisher was transported by ambulance to the hospital, where she reportedly never regained consciousness prior to her death.

While the world was unprepared to lose Carrie, whose most famous acting role was that of Princess Leia in the Star Wars films, it is now being reported that somebody was thinking ahead and considering possible grim outcomes. As Fox News reports, Disney, the entertainment company that distributed the 2015 installment of the Star Wars franchise, The Force Awakens, had taken out a massive insurance policy on Carrie Fisher.

The policy is reportedly in the amount of a staggering $50 million, and it was taken out by Disney to help offset the costs of potentially losing Carrie Fisher before the next two films in the Star Wars franchise are filmed. While Disney wasn’t precisely preparing for her potential death, the company was protecting itself in the event that Fisher became “unable to fulfill her three-film contract.”

At the time of her death, Carrie Fisher had reportedly already wrapped up shooting “Episode VIII,” the second of her three-film Disney commitment. However, she was slated to reprise her role as the indomitable Princess Leia once more in “Episode IX,” something that is now impossible.

As The New York Post reports, the $50 million Carrie Fisher insurance payout could end up being the “largest single personal accident insurance claim payout ever.”

And for good reason.

Star Wars:The Force Awakens, which was released in December 2015, raked in an enormous $2.068 billion at box offices worldwide. In that film, Carrie Fisher was Leia, a role she alone has played since 1977. In the wake of her death, Disney is going to have to make some serious decisions with regard to the future of Princess Leia.

Because Fisher was contracted to reprise the role of Princess Leia once more, the Star Wars creators are going to have to choose whether to rewrite the film’s plot sans Leia, or possibly even turn to computer animation to artificially insert Carrie Fisher into the movie. Either way, it’s bound to be a time consuming, costly process.

Actor Mark Hamill has played opposite Carrie Fisher in the Star Wars films for decades, and it not known whether or not Disney has obtained similar accident insurance policy on him. Hamill is reportedly having a hard time dealing with the aftermath of Fisher’s unexpected death, and he said as much in a recent Entertainment Weekly interview.

“I can’t think of [Fisher] in the past tense. I think of her in the present tense, in the future tense. I’m angry and so sad.”

He hasn’t commented on the reported $50 million insurance payout that Disney is expected to collect following Fisher’s death, or addressed whether or not the entertainment company stands to reap a similar payout in the event that something happens to him.

While Carrie Fisher passed away nearly a week ago, her official cause of death has not been determined. Reportedly a preliminary autopsy ruled that her death was “not obvious,” adding that the medical examiner would have to conduct “further testing” on Carrie Fisher before an official cause of death determination is finalized.

[Featured Image by DP/AAD/STAR MAX/IPx 12/16/15/AP Photo]