As befitting the end of a year as shitty as 2016 was, this past Christmas saw the sad death of Carrie Fisher at the age of just 60. The actress has been mourned by millions of fans around the world, though her final performances in “Catastrophe” and upcoming “Star Wars” sequel “The Last Jedi” remained to be seen (the former came on Amazon last week, and Fisher was great in it).
Aside from their grief, it left “Star Wars” backers an issue: Fisher and General Leia had been a key part of the new “Star Wars” movies, and while she’d completed filming on “The Last Jedi,” the actress would have reprised her role for a sixth time in Colin Trevorrow’s “Star Wars Episode IX,” which is set to shoot at the beginning of next year. Rumors initially stated that the actress would be digitally recreated for the new film, but Lucasfilm quickly denied those rumors, with the company’s head Kathleen Kennedy confirming last month that Fisher wouldn’t be in the ninth film.
And now, Kennedy tells Entertainment Weekly that it had an understandably large impact on the story. “Obviously with Carrie having passed away, it shook everybody,” Kennedy told the outlet. “We pretty much started over.”
It’s a tough situation, but it seems like the right approach: a digital double would have felt ghoulish and exploitative, and lightly altering whatever scripting had been done for the new movie to work around Leia’s absence would have just pointed out the elephant in the room. Bob Iger has said that “The Last Jedi” won’t be altered to reflect Fisher’s passing, so we imagine that Leia will pass away some time after the events of “The Last Jedi,” with full tribute paid at the start of “Episode IX.” But perhaps Trevorrow and co-writer Derek Connolly have something else in mind… Fisher’s last performance will be seen on December 15th, 2017.