Lucasfilm Confirms That Leia Will Return In Star Wars: Episode IX


Now this is a surprise.

Ever since the tragic death of Carrie Fisher, fans have assumed that Star Wars: Episode IX would have to be rewritten in order to kill off General Leia between films. There were rumblings at the time of whether they could create a CGI Leia in the style of Peter Cushing in Rogue One, but they were dismissed as being a bit tasteless, and the idea of recasting the role frankly seems blasphemous given how closely Fisher was associated with it.

But today, Lucasfilm has confirmed that the character will indeed appear in Episode IX, and they’re going to use unused footage from The Force Awakens in order to make it happen. Here’s director J.J. Abrams’ statement on the decision, which is sure to cause at least a minor controversy:

“We desperately loved Carrie Fisher. 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.”

This is going to be one damn tricky tightrope for Abrams and Lucasfilm to walk down. I wouldn’t assume you can simply recycle unused footage and have it fit neatly into another narrative. You’ll have to at minimum edit it severely and, despite his assurances that they’re not going to use a CG character, I wouldn’t be surprised if the existing footage was ‘touched up’ with CGI, if only to put her in a new costume or alter her dialogue to fit the moment.

The working plan for the Disney trilogy was to give each of the classic trio a movie of their own, with Han Solo having The Force Awakens, Luke Skywalker being the focus of The Last Jedi and Leia Organa the centre of Star Wars: Episode IX. It looks like this plan is still a go, then, though I can’t help but be a little skeptical of how well it’s going to work out.