Vanity Fair’s excellent Star Wars: The Last Jedi cover story from last month delivered a ton of new information about the film, but one of the more poignant bits is the revelation that Episode IX was set to feature Carrie Fisher in a central role, similar to how crucial Harrison Ford’s Han Solo was to The Force Awakens. Kathleen Kennedy explained that the moment they finished shooting The Last Jedi, Fisher grabbed her and said, ‘I’d better be at the forefront of IX!’ “She thought IX would be her movie, says Kennedy. “And it would have been.”
Judging from that, Fisher’s untimely death cast a pallor over the production, with Lucasfilm in a quandary about how best to proceed. At one point, they considered attempting to resurrect her through CGI (having just done so in Rogue One), but announced they’d decided against it on grounds of taste rather than technology. Obviously, we don’t know how The Last Jedi will end, but it’s rumoured that General Leia will suffer an accident leaving her at death’s door. Presumably, she’ll now not survive.
It wasn’t just Leia’s role that was impacted by Carrie’s untimely death, though. According to Kennedy, the team had to re-think most of the movie. “Obviously, with Carrie having passed away, it shook everybody,” she said while chatting with Entertainment Weekly recently. When asked about how they attempted to deal with the plot for Episode IX after Fisher’s death, Kennedy added, “We pretty much started over.”
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How exactly the film will address the actress’ tragic passing is still unclear, but while doing press for his new movie The Book of Henry, director Colin Trevorrow spoke a bit about his plans for Episode IX. Though he wouldn’t give away any specifics, he assured us that Carrie’s death will be handled with “love and respect.”
“[General Leia] was a major character, that’s not a secret. She really was. And it was extremely sad for all of us, mostly just because she was so loved by the Star Wars family and everyone that worked with her. I feel like our options are limited mostly by ourselves, in that there [are] only certain things that we are willing to do. But I can guarantee it will be handled with love and respect, and all of the soul that Carrie Fisher deserves.”
As with everything else we’ve been hearing in regards to how this is being dealt with, these comments are petty vague. They don’t really tell us too much about how Lucasfilm intends on proceeding from here on out, but it’s still nice to know that everyone involved is aware of the delicacy of the situation and intends on treading carefully, making sure that whatever’s done, it’s done with care and respect for both Carrie and the fans.
Unfortunately, though, it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting any concrete details on how the studio plans on concluding Leia’s arc until the next chapter of the saga arrives in December, but we can at least rest assured that the character will get the sendoff she deserves when Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi flies into theatres later this year.
Source: Cinema Blend