Star Wars: Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow has addressed the heartfelt loss of Carrie Fisher and how they plan on handling her absence in the upcoming sequel. Fisher’s death took the world by surprise last year, and it has left a void in the Star Wars community. What’s more, her death left many questions open as to what will happen to her character, General Leia, in Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi and, eventually, Episode IX.
Leia has been part of the Star Wars saga since the very beginning, and she was going to be given her chance to shine once again in Episode IX. It’s no secret that J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens was essentially Harrison Ford’s movie to lead as Han Solo, whereas Episode VIII is Mark Hamill’s movie to lead as Luke Skywalker. Episode IX would have been Fisher’s. Unfortunately, that’s no longer the case.
While doing press for his upcoming film, The Book of Henry, Colin Trevorrow spoke to Cinemablend about Fisher’s death, as well as how they plan on addressing her absence in Episode IX. He admitted they have few options, but whatever they end up doing, it will be handled with love and respect.
“[General Leia] was a major character, that’s not a secret. She really was. And it was extremely sad for all of us, mostly just because she was so loved by the Star Wars family and everyone that worked with her. I feel like our options are limited mostly by ourselves, in that there [are] only certain things that we are willing to do. But I can guarantee it will be handled with love and respect, and all of the soul that Carrie Fisher deserves.”
Trevorrow’s comments are somewhat expected, given the gravity of the situation. However, it’s interesting that he says there are only certain things that they are “willing to do,” which could indicate their hesitation to possibly kill off Leia in The Last Jedi. After all, there are no plans to recreate the character using CGI (as Lucasfilm did with Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin in Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story).
Whatever they do, it’s clear that Lucasfilm has their work cut out for them. Studio president Kathleen Kennedy recently revealed that they had to go back to the drawing board following Fisher’s death, for she was originally going to be at the forefront of the last installment in the sequel trilogy. Now, she won’t be appearing in Episode IX at all. We should have an inkling as to what Lucasfilm plans on doing with Leia when The Last Jedi releases later this year.