Everyone was taken by surprise when Lucasfilm announced that Carrie Fisher’s General Leia would indeed play a major role in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Given that the actress tragically died in early 2017, we all immediately began to wonder how they’d go about this act of cinematic necromancy. The fact that we’d already seen a digital Leia in Rogue One led many to conclude that she’d be CGI, only for director J.J. Abrams to clarify that they were planning to assemble her performance from unused footage from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.
Their plans met with the approval of Fisher’s surviving relatives, with many (including myself) very curious to see exactly how well this will work. But however professionally and seamlessly it’s done, there’s going to be a strange feeling when Leia reappears from beyond the grave.
We already had an idea of how this recycling of unused footage would work in the movie, but now, an insider has explained to Star Wars News Net precisely how the process is going.
“They are combining clips. There will also be no horrible digi-double that was used for Leia in Rogue One. This is all being done in what we call ‘comp.’ There will be some digital work done (aging, hair) so her face and body match, but not the uncanny valley like Tarkin in Rogue One. They will be changing her hair or adding wrinkles as she looked very different between Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.”
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This lines up well with what we’ve heard from other sources and the one picture we have of General Leia in The Rise of Skywalker. The recreation of her performance is certain to draw an intense amount of scrutiny on the film’s release later this year, but if they knock it out of the park, they can claim to have both honored Carrie Fisher’s memory in the nicest way possible and have pushed forward the boundaries of post-mortem performances. If it looks at all unnatural or ghoulish though, then, well, it could torpedo the whole project.
Hopefully we’ll get a good look at Leia in the next trailer, but we’ll find out for sure if they pulled it off on December 20th, when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens big.
Source: Star Wars News Net