Star Wars: Episode IX will incorporate unused footage of Carrie Fisher from The Last Jedi. Following the actress' passing in December 2016, many wondered what the future held for General Leia Organa onscreen. Recently, when confirming the Star Wars 9 cast, Lucasfilm answered that question by revealing Fisher would posthumously appear as her iconic character via old footage taken from The Force Awakens. Director J.J. Abrams said he found it impossible to give the Skywalker saga a fitting conclusion without Leia's presence.
A fans worldwide celebrated the news, some may have noticed a curious bit in the studio's announcement. Their press release only referenced unused footage from The Force Awakens, making no mention of Rian Johnson's franchise installment. Of course, there are surely deleted Last Jedi scenes involving Leia that could be repurposed for Episode IX, and now it's been confirmed Abrams will make use of them in the sequel trilogy finale.
ABC News' Clayton Sandell was a guest on Star Wars News Net's The Resistance Broadcast, where he detailed a conversation he had with Todd Fisher, Carrie's brother. As it turns out, Sandell was wondering about the Last Jedi footage himself, and posed the query to Todd:
“I talked to Todd Fisher today about all of this and he has been talking with J. J. Abrams about it. I asked him, because the press release only said The Force Awakens so I asked about The Last Jedi, and they are also using unused footage from The Last Jedi. I asked him how many minutes of footage they had from it and he said ‘I can’t tell you that!'”
This will allow Abrams and his team to pull from a wider range of available footage. All things considered, it would be rather limiting if they stuck to Force Awakens exclusively and didn't take a look at what Last Jedi had to offer. Even if there isn't a whole lot of deleted Carrie footage, every extra bit helps when trying to tackle something like this. Using old footage of deceased actors is nothing new for Hollywood, but it'll nevertheless be very interesting to see how Abrams executes Leia's Episode IX role. He obviously must feel very confident in his plan, if he feels working with old footage is a feasible option. Most importantly, Abrams has the blessing of Carrie's family, who are excited to see the icon remains an active part of the story.
Obviously, Todd couldn't share too much information, but he did tease "big surprises" are in store, particularly with Leia. At one point, it was expected the General would be at the forefront of Episode IX (like Han in Force Awakens and Luke in Last Jedi). While the film has obviously gone through a number of changes since it first entered development, it would be nice if Abrams was able to give Leia a meaningful role. As a fixture of the Star Wars franchise from the very beginning, Leia deserves a tremendous sendoff as much as her fellow original trilogy veterans.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019