Finally, we know what to expect from when it comes to how Carrie Fisher will be featured in Star Wars: Episode IX. Following Fisher’s sudden passing in December 2016, the question loomed large over how the final Star Wars films would utilize Fisher to ensure that justice would be done for the character she originated more than 40 years ago, Princess Leia. Now, we have a clearer idea of what Fisher’s final performance will look like in Star Wars: Episode IX thanks to new comments from director J.J. Abrams at the Star Wars Celebration panel in Chicago.
During a Friday afternoon panel moderated by top fanboy Stephen Colbert, the topic of what Fisher’s final performance in the Star Wars Skywalker saga would look like. Abrams took the lead on answering, sharing that they “couldn’t fill the void” left by Fisher in any traditional way because she was “glorious” and that it would be “impossible.” According to Abrams, this means that he, Kathleen Kennedy, Episode IX scribe Chris Terrio, and the other producers immediately took the option off the table to create a CGI version of Fisher to perform in her place (unlike what happened with the late Peter Cushing, who was resurrected in CGI form to play Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One).
The workaround that Abrams and co. landed on was, miraculously, to use previously cut footage of Fisher from Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. According to Abrams, the idea to use the footage sprang from the notion of “what if we could write scenes around her?” and he went on to comment that “the crazy thing is, emotionally, every day it hits me that she’s not here but it’s surreal because we’re working with her still […] Princess Leia lives in this film in a way that’s mindblowing to me.”
JJ said the idea of using CGI to recreate carrie fisher's likeness was off the table from the beginning and that they wrote the film around her unused scenes from TFA. he also said she'll share scenes with her daughter billie in IX.
— lindsey romain @ swcc (@lindseyromain) April 12, 2019
Based on Abrams’ comments, fans can expect to see — to an extent — the Episode IX script written around Fisher’s re-purposed Force Awakens scenes so that Leia’s part of the film will mesh seamlessly with the overall story being told. As an added bonus: Fisher’s re-purposed scenes will apparently include lots of moments with daughter Billie Lourd, who has had a minor role in the two previous Star Wars Films, The Force Awakens and Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.