The loss of Carrie Fisher in 2016 was a devastating blow to the Star Wars family. Not only did she leave a hole in the lives of her friends and family, but Fishers’ passing left a hole in the hearts of nerds everywhere. Obviously, the loss is much worse for the people that knew her, but from the side of the fans of things, it also meant we wouldn’t get the chance to see her starring role in Star Wars Episode 9 as it was intended.
We will still get to see General Leia in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, like scenes from The Force Awakens, are being used as a way to keep her involved in the film that ends the Skywalker saga. Using the footage to make sure a deceased actor is added in to a film does bring up a bit of a debate around morality, but personally I feel as long as it was for a character or project the actor felt close to and it’s done respectfully, I’m more than happy to see it happen. As long as the family gives their blessing of course.
In this case, using previously shot footage meant that director JJ Abrams had “suddenly found the impossible answer to the impossible question”. Fishers’ daughter, Billie Lourd, plays Lieutenant Connix in the new set of films and had, no doubt, been looking forward to performing on film with her mother. Following her death, Abrams began reworking scenes so that Lourd and Fisher would no longer be in them together. He states:
“I purposely had written her character in scenes without Carrie, because I just didn’t want it to be uncomfortable for her.” But Lourd told him, “I want to be in scenes with her. I want it for my children when I have kids. I want them to see.”
As reported in Vanity Fair, Lourd wanted to be in the scenes with her mother for future generations to see. Understandably, it was an emotional time for Lourd, with Abrams recounting how the scenes affected her:
“She would get emotional and sort of have to excuse herself for a minute. I know it was hard for her for a while.”
He also went on to talk about the digitally younger version of Princess Leia that appeared in Star Wars Rogue One. This particular piece of trickery did not go down well with some people and Abrams is looking for a different reaction this time. He said:
“I hope when people see it, they are not thinking about that. Of course, some will, but I think it’s one of those things. It sort of goes away after a moment, because it’s not quite a magic trick; it’s sort of more of a trick of editing. There is an element of the uncanny, spiritual, you know. Classic Carrie, that it would have happened this way, because somehow it worked. And I never thought it would.”
I’m pleased we get to see Leia one more time in a Star Wars film, especially one that closes off an entire saga (for real this time). The fact that Carrie Fisher actually acted in these scenes and we aren’t being hoodwinked with some digital trickery means something. Hopefully, she’ll get the send-off she deserves, we’ll get a Star Wars film we all love and Billie Lourd can have something she is proud of to show her children and their children.
This may be asking a lot, but here’s hoping and there’s not too long to wait now either as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens on December 20th. Well, it does for you Americans, for us British it opens a day earlier, cue evil Palpatine laugh.
Steve is the resident Englishman, just don’t hold that against him. He’s been playing games for the best part of 3 decades and will continue to do so for as long as his thumbs hold up. When they no longer work, he’ll still find a way to play Resident Evil 2. Lover of most things nerdy Steve also likes sports. Go sports!