There’s been a disturbance in the Force, thanks to the latest trailer for the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The promotional footage for Rian Johnson’s franchise instalment is cut together in such a way as to suggest that General Leia Organa might meet an unfortunate end – and fans are, understandably, concerned for their beloved icon of the galactic Resistance.
In the trailer, we see an emotionally charged Kylo Ren at the controls of an attack ship, heading into space battle, while his voiceover says, “Let the past die. Kill it, if you have to. It’s the only way to become who you were meant to be.” This, in and of itself, is dramatic, though not troubling – but, it’s intercut with shots of an equally emotionally charged General Leia Organa, gazing out of from the bridge of a Resistance carrier. This section of the trailer is clearly intended to suggest that, after killing his father – Han Solo – in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren seeks to kill his mother in order to truly shed his past life and fully embrace the Dark Side.
Of course, Carrie Fisher sadly and suddenly passed away in the final days of 2016 – an unexpected event that caused a significant rewrite of Star Wars: Episode IX. This fact alone indicates that General Organa was always supposed to survive the events of The Last Jedi – whatever they’re ultimately revealed to be. The idea that Rian Johnson and Lucasfilm would then use the post-production process to retroactively assassinate one of the original stars of the franchise, while Carrie Fisher’s fans are still mourning her loss, seems a little preposterous.
Moreover, after the passing of Fisher, the media were understandably clamouring for some kind of confirmation as to how the loss would be dealt with in the saga – and several of those involved – including John Boyega – have confirmed that General Organa does indeed make it out of The Last Jedi alive.
“This movie, it sends her off in a very amazing, amazing way. She’s still kept alive in this franchise. You know, that’s the beauty of it – she lives forever in a sense.”
The fact is that General Leia Organa – and more specifically, Carrie Fisher herself – holds a very special place in the hearts of millions of movie fans. Their relationship to her – both the character, and the actress that that plays her – is entirely unique. Such a situation requires deft handling, and the utmost respect for both the performer, and her fans.
While The Force Awakens did include the death of original character Han Solo, this blow was somewhat softened by the knowledge that it was largely in accordance with the wishes of Harrison Ford. Knowing that Carrie Fisher died unexpectedly, and was due to appear in the next franchise instalment, it would be utterly unacceptable to have Kylo Ren blow her out of the sky in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, just to conclude her story.
In this respect, the fact that the trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi would play upon that deep love for General Organa – by intentionally suggesting that we might be about to witness her onscreen demise – is somewhat upsetting. Let’s hope that these are simply the manipulative actions of marketing executives, and that Rian Johnson’s work as a whole treats our Princess with the true reverence she so richly deserves.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrives in theatres on December 15th.