As the Star Wars community continues to mourn the passing of franchise icon Carrie Fisher, many fans are wondering what the future has in store for the actress' famous character, General Leia Organa. Fisher, of course, reprised the role in 2015's The Force Awakens and will appear once more in this December's Star Wars: Episode VIII. After her death, it was revealed that Fisher had filmed all her scenes for the highly-anticipated sequel, but principal photography wrapped in summer 2016, well before additional reshoots and pickups are shot. Additionally, it was said Leia was supposed to return for Star Wars: Episode IX, so how Lucasfilm handles this situation has been a topic of great curiosity.
It's been reported that Leia is going to have a larger role in Star Wars 8 when compared to Episode VII, so it's clear that the studio had big plans for Fisher moving forward. Now, unfortunately, they have to discuss the best course of action for the remainder of the sequel trilogy, and Star Wars 9 director Colin Trevorrow will meet Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy soon for those talks.
In a new report from THR, it's said that Trevorrow is due in Los Angeles the week of January 10, 2017 to go over the options and find a suitable solution with Kennedy. Though it's been rumored Episode IX would begin filming this spring, that was never confirmed by Disney, and there is no way that movie starts principal photography without a definitive plan in place. THR theorizes that the cameras will roll in early 2018 for a December 2019 release (a schedule similar to Episode VIII), but that is not official. It is currently unknown how far along Trevorrow and co-writer Derek Connolly were in developing the Star Wars 9 script, though it is likely revisions will have to be made at some point.
Sources told THR that there were at least two key scenes involving Leia for both Episode VIII and Star Wars 9. One involved Leia reuniting with her twin brother, Luke Skywalker, while the other was a confrontation with Kylo Ren, her son who murdered Han Solo. According to them, Leia's part in Episode IX would have been even larger than her role in Star Wars 8, but they do not elaborate beyond that. It will be interesting to see which direction the creative team goes in; Leia is a key figure in these new films as a leader of the Resistance, so it's difficult to envision the probable conclusion of the Skywalker saga without her. It's important to all that this issue is resolved with respect and class, so Lucasfilm will work long and hard before agreeing to a decision.
One possibility being floated around now is rewriting parts of Episode VIII so that film can be the character's emotional sendoff. THR also discusses the option of using CGI effects a la Rogue One, which brought the late Peter Cushing and a 19-year old Fisher to the big screen in 2016. However, that would be an even more slippery slope than the digital resurrection of Grand Moff Tarkin and make several viewers feel extremely uncomfortable. There's no understating how difficult a time this is for all involved, but Lucasfilm has demonstrated a penchant for making the right calls in the years past. They know what Fisher and Leia mean to everyone, so the fandom should have faith in them to do what's best.
- Star Wars: Rogue One / Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) release date: Dec 16, 2016
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018