One of the persisting rumors for J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens is that the film will break franchise tradition and be the first in the saga to feature flashbacks during its narrative. In fact, a supposed complete cast list seemed to confirm as such, as one of the characters on it was "Young Luke Skywalker." In recent months, a description of a possible flashback sequence was made public, but the speculation about looks into the past goes back nearly a year ago, when Carrie Fisher's daughter Billie Lourd joined the cast.
For obvious reasons, many people jumped to the conclusion that Lourd was being brought in to portray a younger version of Princess Leia, but there's been little word on the development ever since. Now, Lourd herself has come out to put the kibosh on the belief she's playing the character her mother made famous all those years ago.
While promoting Scream Queens, Lourd spoke with ET and provided a very definitive take on the situation:
"That's a lie. That's a rumor. I wish I played a young princess.”
Now, this isn't a confirmation that there won't be a Leia flashback of any kind during the run time of The Force Awakens, but it does seal the deal that Lourd would not be the actress in that scenario.
In all honesty, this isn't all that surprising. Putting the focus on the new guard of Finn (John Boyega), Rey (Daisy Ridley), and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), the new Star Wars film will be busy establishing the future of the franchise instead of showcasing what took place before. The one rumored flashback (the aforementioned "Young Luke" one) at least sounds like it serves some purpose in the overall plot. Based on what we know about Episode VII, it's hard to see how a look into Leia's past would advance the story.
So if Lourd isn't going to be a fresh-faced Leia, who is she playing? When pressed for answers by ET, she obviously couldn't say much about the role, but her brief quote is fairly telling nonetheless:
“I can't talk to you about the character, or the lack of character. I didn't even say that. That was too much.”
That Lourd considers it "too much" to tease the lack of a character would seemingly indicate that her screen time is quite brief. One of the more plausible outcomes is that she's playing a young member of the First Order or Resistance, a background part that will barely register to those not explicitly looking for it. The best case scenario is that she is one of the featured fighter pilots in a space battle of some kind (think Wedge Antilles), which is a small enough role to not be a big deal, but large enough for her to be noticed. It remains to be seen who she'll play, but fans shouldn't expect to see much of her.
And this shouldn't exactly be a shock to anyone that Lourd's part is probably minimal. We've seen two trailers and her face hasn't appeared in either one, and there are still other "main" actors (like Andy Serkis and Domhnall Gleeson) we're waiting to learn more about (seven months away from release).
Given her family ties, Lourd's inclusion in the film is a cool nod to the series' storied history, but with the Force Awakens leads and supporting players pretty much set in stone at this point in time, the primary ensemble is big enough now to get the sequel trilogy underway. Unlike many things Star Wars, there isn't much speculation to be had here.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be in theaters December 18, 2015.