The death of Star Wars franchise actress Carrie Fisher in late 2016 year saddened fans and cast an uncertain shadow over sequel plans, but the actress had a key role in Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, and will also show up in the upcoming Episode IX.
An episode IX casting announcement released on Friday listed Carrie Fisher among those slated to appear in the upcoming sequel. The announcement was accompanied by a statement from J.J. Abrams concerning Fisher’s role in the upcoming movie and her impact on Star Wars as a whole.
“We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” said Abrahms. “Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast, or use a CG character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie, we have found a way to honor Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII (The Force Awakens).”
Fisher’s brother, Todd Fisher, confirmed her presence in the film to The New York Daily News during the opening night gala of the TCM Film Festival in Los Angeles in April of last year. He indicated that both he and Carrie’s daughter, Billie Lourd, gave the studios permission to use recent footage she had filmed — not CGI — to include her in the movie.
“Both of us were like, ‘Yes, how do you take her out of it?’ And the answer is you don’t,” he said. “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.”
Fisher’s brother added that he’s uncertain what the studio has planned for Leia Organa, Fisher’s beloved character in the franchise, but he has faith in the Abrams and the rest of the Star Wars crew.
“I’m not the only part in that equation, but I think the people deserve to have her,” he said. “She’s owned by them.”
Updated 7-28-18 to include J.J. Abrams’ comments regarding Fisher’s role in Episode IX.
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