By: Dominic Jones
Following the tragic death of Carrie Fisher late last year, the question on everyone's mind is how will her death effect the future Star Wars films. Fisher's scenes for Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi were completed prior to her death and, according to Disney CEO Bob Iger, they won't be changing Leia's role in the film to reflect Fisher's passing. However, this leaves open the issue of what will do about Star Wars Episode IX, due for release in 2019. Lucasfilm issued a statement recently revealing they had "no plans" to recreate Fisher using CGI in future films, leading many to speculate she would be written out of the story and the character would not appear in Episode IX.
This is not the case, according to Fisher's brother Todd, who spoke to the New York Daily News at the opening night gala of the TCM Film Festival in Los Angeles. Todd Fisher, along with Carrie's daughter Billie Lourd, owns the rights to late actresses image and he says he has given Lucasfilm permission to use it in the final installment in the sequel trilogy.
“Both of us were like, ‘Yes, how do you take her out of it?’ And the answer is you don't. She’s as much a part of it as anything and I think her presence now is even more powerful than it was, like Obi Wan — when the saber cuts him down he becomes more powerful. I feel like that's what's happened with Carrie. I think the legacy should continue.”
He later added,
“I’m not the only part in that equation, but I think the people deserve to have her,. She's owned by them.”
The question remains of how exactly she might appear in the film. Lucasfilm could always go back on their statement that they would not be using CGI to recreate the character. They have already recreated a dead actor for one of their films, with Peter Cushing being brought back to life--so to speak--digitally for Rogue One. They could also use archival footage, such as deleted scenes from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, to create a new moment. Recasting is also a possibility, however that seems most unlikely.
All that being said, Lucasfilm may still decide not to use Leia in Episode IX despite Lourd and Fisher giving them their blessing to use Carrie's image. The powers that be may determine they're better of writing her out of the story than recreating her, one way or another, for new scenes. We do know that decision has, at least tentatively, been made based on a meeting that took place among Lucasfilm Creative Executives and Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow in January. (Member of the Lucasfilm Story Group, Matt Martin spoke briefly, without giving anything away, about the tone of the meeting during a panel at Salt Lake Comic Con’s FanX, which you can hear courtesy of the Full of Sith podcast).
How to handle Leia in the film is just one of many things on Trevorrow's plate. The director recently gave a brief update on Episode IX, confirming that they did have a draft of the script and they were working on the film's visuals and adapting the script at the same time.
Star Wars Episode IX is slated to hit theaters in 2019.
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