VFX Guru Explains The Film Magic Behind Leia’s Spacewalk In Star Wars: The Last Jedi


You’ve heard of her, haven’t you? Leia Poppins?

Coming out of The Last Jedi back in December, it seemed as though Star Wars enthusiasts had compiled a laundry list of complaints about Rian Johnson’s space sequel – the Luke/Kylo duel, Rey’s parentage…you name it. But if there was one scene that was truly raked over the coals, it was the one involving Carrie Fisher’s Leia Organa as she was blasted into the vacuum of space.

Cast astray amidst the inky-black void, many assumed that we had seen the last of the Resistance general, which would have made sense given the untimely passing of Carrie Fisher back in 2016. However, Rian Johnson ultimately chose to spare Leia, and called upon her dormant Force abilities to bring her back on board.

Such an intricate and incredibly detailed scene required a combination of CGI and practical effects, as The Last Jedi‘s VFX Supervisor, Ben Morris, tells Deadline:

We worked with Carrie [Fisher] to at least get her to be blown forward in a believable way before she gets sucked out. Then, when she’s outside, it was a combination of digital double Carrie for the wider shots, and then we actually shot her, so we could do the moment where she comes to and the ice starts thawing off her face.

We shot that with her. We didn’t hang her on wires. It’s incredibly uncomfortable on wires, so we were able to support her in other ways. It’s a combination of real Carrie and digital doubles when the moves were wide enough, and it made most sense to do it that way.

Princess Leia in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The result? An incredibly poignant shot that manages to carve out a minute of silence during one of the sequel’s more intense scenes.

Rian always wanted it to be a very moving moment. It was a very sensitive moment for everybody, in particular because we lost Carrie before the film came out, so we wanted to get it exactly right–and the imagery that you see there is Carrie. It’s not like we did on Rogue One, going for an entirely digital Carrie.

And that authenticity was there for all to see – regardless of whether you buy into the whole ‘Leia Poppins’ craze or not.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits Blu-ray and DVD on March 27th, and it’ll come packing a wealth of bonus content for the Lucasfilm sequel.

Source: Deadline