We’ve known for a long time that Lucasfilm and director J.J. Abrams planned to comb through the archives in search of old Carrie Fisher footage that could be repurposed for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Their mission? To deliver a satisfying conclusion for Leia Organa – the People’s Princess – who displayed some semblance of Force sensitivity during The Last Jedi. Indeed, there were even rumblings that Lucasfilm had planned for Leia to become the last remaining Jedi in the absence of her brother Luke, but sadly, it wasn’t to be.
The tragic loss of Carrie Fisher in 2016 forced Abrams and Co. to dream up a different strategy altogether, as they sought about closing out a character arc which began in 1977. No pressure, then.
And based on a newly-revealed promo for The Rise of Skywalker, it appears Abrams and the tech wizards and Lucasfilm pulled footage from a Force Awakens deleted scene – specifically the one in which General Organa orders a Resistance soldier to contact the Galactic Senate.
It’s a smart strategy, particularly given the fact that Abrams and his team ruled out a CGI resurrection – or recasting the role of Leia altogether – pretty early on in the creative process.
“Like everyone here who knew her, I loved Carrie. I knew her for a long time, not very well but for a while before [we worked on] Force Awakens. […] Obviously, as we’ve discussed, the idea of continuing the story without Leia was an impossibility. And there was no way we were going to do a digital Leia, there was no way we were going to recast it. We couldn’t do it without her.”
General Leia and the rest of the crew will be projected onto our screens one last time come Friday, when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is expected to take the world by storm. It is, after all, the culmination of a nine-picture saga spanning 42 years and multiple generations, so it should come as no surprise that Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy is planning something of a Star Wars hiatus once Episode IX has come and gone.