Star Wars fans hoped Todd Fisher was right when he revealed the news that his sister, Carrie Fisher, would have a role in the sequel to Star Wars: The Last Jedi. But the sad truth is that The Last Jedi is the last time Fisher’s iconic Princess Leia, now General Leia, will light up the screen for the franchise.
Variety shared that originally, producers hoped to use some of the existing footage of the Star Wars mainstay, but it didn’t work out. Before Carrie’s tragic and unexpected death in December 2016, she completed all the filming necessary for The Last Jedi, and there seemed to be plenty of unused footage for the next film in the series.
Ever since Carrie returned to Star Wars in 2015’s The Force Awakens, she’s been a huge success in her reprised role of Leia, and fans want more.
In an interview with Good Morning, America during the four-day Star Wars Celebration in Orlando, Kathleen Kennedy, the president of LucasFilms, revealed the disappointing news that The Last Jedi would be the end of Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia
“Sadly, Carrie will not be in ‘Nine,'” Kennedy said. “But we’ll see a lot of her in ‘Eight,’ which is great.”
Kennedy told reporters that she “had no idea” why Todd Fisher said Carrie would appear in Episode Nine. She thought Todd, who is also Debbie Reynold’s son, might have been “confused” because of the original plans for Carrie’s ongoing role as General Leia in the follow-up to The Last Jedi.
The script for the sequel to The Last Jedi wasn’t written yet, but the story outline was “well underway with Episode in our thoughts,” according to Kennedy.
Carrie Fisher was too important to leave out, and her “absolutely phenomenal” performance in The Last Jedi meant a big part for Fisher’s General Leia in the next Star Wars as planning got underway.
Carrie’s death from cardiac arrest mostly ended plans to include her character again after The Last Jedi. There just wasn’t enough footage to make it work. The team had to take a big breath, sit down together, and regroup. They started the whole process all over again in January.
“Carrie was a significant part of that story — that was something she very much wanted and we very much wanted. But given the circumstances, we would not carry on with that.”
Fisher’s death left millions mourning her loss, and the opening ceremony at the Star Wars Celebration was filled with memories of the star. The gathering saw fans, friends, co-stars and George Lucas himself become emotional as they paid tribute to a great actress and great person.
The Chicago Tribune shared that “George Lucas’ voice wavered for a moment” as he spoke about Carrie Fisher, and when the Orlando Philharmonic played Leia’s theme while her photo hovered on the big screen, “sobs and sighs and sniffles could be heard in the dark.”
Carrie Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, recited one of Carrie’s iconic speeches from Star Wars as she bravely participated in the commemoration. The Star Wars Celebration was Lourd’s first public appearance since her mother died only one day before Carrie’s mother, and Lourd’s grandmother, Debbie Reynolds died.
Jezebel shared that Lourd said one of the most important things her mother taught her was that “if life isn’t funny then it’s just true and that is unacceptable.”
Friday evening at the Star Wars Celebration 40-year reunion was dedicated entirely to Fisher. Mark Hamill shared memories of his “beloved space-twin,” but his final comment might be a reflection of Carrie Fisher’s determination to find life funny.
“When I think of her now, I think of her looking from the celestial stratosphere with her big brown eyes and that wry smile and… she lovingly extends a middle finger. And that was Carrie.”
Carrie Fisher’s many fans and friends won’t be ready to laugh just yet, but it’s possible that Fisher is having a chuckle about how on Earth Star Wars Episode Nine will manage without her.
[Featured Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]