It’s now been just over two years since Carrie Fisher’s tragic and untimely death. When she passed away, most assumed that Lucasfilm would rewrite Star Wars: Episode IX to incorporate the death of Leia (and given what happens to her in The Last Jedi, they had ample room to tweak the plot to get that in). Instead, though, they surprised us all earlier this year by explaining that they were sticking to their original plan of having the final installment in the Sequel Trilogy be Carrie’s movie.
Clearly conscious of the fact that an on-screen resurrection could be viewed as distasteful, they assured fans that they wouldn’t digitally recreate Fisher as they did Peter Cushing, and instead use unused scenes recorded for The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Precisely how that is going to work was and is a mystery, but we now have a slightly better idea after Fisher’s brother Todd revealed a bit of what Lucasfilm’s planning to do.
Speaking on Good Morning America, he said that he was “thrilled” to see his sister back on screen and that the studio will be using unused, new content.
“There’s a lot of minutes of footage. I don’t mean just outtakes. This is unused, new content that could be woven into the storyline. That’s what’s going to give everybody such a great kick. It’s going to look like it was meant to be. Like it was shot yesterday.”
If Lucasfilm and J.J. Abrams really can pull this off without showing the seams, it’s going to be a groundbreaking feat of technical wizardry. Though the studio’s insistent that they won’t create a CGI General Leia, I can’t imagine that this performance isn’t going to be achieved without some kind of digital trickery. Perhaps they could have a body double in a new costume and superimpose the facial movements from the already shot footage? Or maybe they could tweak the dialogue and lip movements to make her say what they want by clever use of photo-manipulation and ADR.
Either way, they’re walking one hell of a tightrope. If it looks unnatural, Lucasfilm will be accused of being ghoulish and they’d have a tough time defending themselves. Hopefully we’ll get a taste of what’s to come in the first Star Wars: Episode IX trailer, which should arrive in early 2019.