Star Wars: Rian Johnson Says The Last Jedi Will Provide Catharsis For Leia Fans

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Does Leia's story wrap up nicely in #TheLastJedi? @rianjohnson isn't sure, but he hopes it gives emotional satisfaction. @StarWars #D23expo

— Good Morning America (@GMA) July 16, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson spoke from D23 about Carrie Fisher's "beautiful" performance in the film as Leia, and said he hopes fans experience "catharsis" from seeing the actress play the character one more time. Fisher was originally meant to appear as Leia in all three of the new trilogy of films until her untimely death last year at the age of 60.

Fisher became an icon thanks to her portrayal of Princess Leia Organa in the original Star Wars trilogy, and returned in 2015 along with fellow original cast members Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and others for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first new Star Wars film since Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm. Events in The Force Awakens left fans wondering what Leia's role would be in the next film, and Fisher's death left many questions about how heavily Leia would be featured in both the upcoming Last Jedi and the trilogy wrap-up Star Wars 9.

In an interview with GMA from D23, Last Jedi director Rian Johnson talked about picking up Leia's arc, and took the opportunity to clarify some previous statements about how the character's story "wraps up nicely" in the new film. Johnson seems unsure about "wrapping up" Leia, but does believe the movie will provide some catharsis for fans who are still grieving over the loss of Fisher.

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"Carrie gives a really beautiful performance in the film. We obviously didn't make the movie to be her final Star Wars movie. Given that though, I think there are scenes that she has that are going to mean a lot to people and there are scenes that we have with her where now not having her around I watch them and I think I'm really thankful that we have that and we can give that to people. So "wraps up nicely," I don't know but it emotionally gives some kind of catharsis I guess, gives some kind of emotional satisfaction, I really think so, I hope so. I know for me it does."

In The Force Awakens it was revealed that Leia and Han Solo had a child who eventually turned against his parents, becoming the Darth Vader-worshipping would-be Sith Lord Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Solo would eventually come face-to-face with his wayward son, a reunion that ended with Kylo running his father through with a lightsaber. Plot details of The Last Jedi are a closely-guarded secret, so it's not known yet whether Kylo will come face-to-face with his mother, or whether Leia will be reunited with her brother Luke Skywalker, who was briefly glimpsed at the end of The Force Awakens and figures heavily in The Last Jedi.

We do know that Carrie Fisher shot enough footage for The Last Jedi to have a significant role in the film, but according to statements by Lucasfilm exec Kathleen Kennedy and others, there will be no footage of Fisher used in Star Wars 9 even though Leia was originally meant to figure heavily in the story. After CGI was used to create young Leia for the ending of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, some speculated that computer effects could be employed to allow Fisher a place future Star Wars movies, but assurances have been made that this is not in the cards.

Rian Johnson's hesitancy to commit to the idea that Star Wars: The Last Jedi "wraps up" Leia's story could be read as leaving the door open on Carrie Fisher returning for Star Wars 9 in some form, CGI or otherwise. Star Wars 9 director Colin Trevorrow has only said that adjusting to the loss of Fisher was very tough and the movie will "honor" the actress in some way. A behind-the-scenes video from The Last Jedi shown at D23 teased Carrie Fisher's performance, and a new character poster of Leia was also released.

Next: Star Wars: The Last Jedi Behind-the-Scenes Sizzle Reel Breakdown

Source: Good Morning America

Key Release Dates
  • Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
  • Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
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