Carrie Fisher sadly passed away in December 2016, but General Leia Organa’s story will continue in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker. It’s previously been revealed that unused footage from The Force Awakens will be respectively utilized to include the all-important character in the closer to the trilogy. And at D23 today, director J.J. Abrams promised that Leia will be key to the narrative.
“The character of Leia is really, in a way, the heart of this story,” Abrams told the crowd at the expo, according to Variety. “We realized we could not possibly tell the end of these nine films without Leia. We realized that we had footage from Episode VII, and we could use it in a new way.”
Rise is not just due to wrap up the Sequel Trilogy but is also being touted as the end of the entire Skywalker saga. So, Abrams is right that they couldn’t have completed that legend without involving Leia. It’s the same reason that Mark Hamill is going to return as Luke, as well, despite the character passing away in The Last Jedi.
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A prominent role for the former princess of Alderaan is something that’s been consistent since Episode IX’s conception though, as Hamill revealed back in 2017 that Fisher would have had a big part in the film. And this was back when Colin Trevorrow was still helming. It’s heartening to hear that this is still the case, with Abrams apparently finding a creative, fulfilling use for Fisher’s deleted TFA footage. Carrie’s brother Todd Fisher has even said he’s thrilled with how she’s been incorporated into the movie.
Of course, D23 also saw the release of a new poster for the pic as well as a behind-the-scenes sizzle reel. The latter has yet to drop online, but is expected to land on Monday.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, meanwhile, hits theaters on December 20th.