Tragedy struck at the end of last year as Hollywood lost both Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds back in December. While Fisher had completed shooting her role as Leia on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, there was a question of what would become of her character.
We know that Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow was planning on featuring the character in a big way in the third film, so her unexpected passing created some issues for the franchise. One possibility was that they would recut her role in The Last Jedi, but according to Disney CEO Bob Iger, they won’t change a thing. Here’s what he said during a discussion at the USC Marshall School of Business (via Slash Film):
We’ve had to deal with tragedy this past year because Carrie Fisher passed away tragically in December, and she appears throughout [Episode] 8. What I can say about that is she is in 8 and we’re not changing 8 to deal with her passing. So her performance, which we’re really pleased with, remains as it was in 8.
Recutting her role wasn’t the only possibility for how to deal with Fisher passing away. Speculation turned to how Rogue One: A Star Wars Story digitally resurrected Peter Cushing in order to reprise his role as Grand Moff Tarkin. Iger dismissed doing the same with Fisher, saying that:
In Rogue One, we created digitally a few characters, one an actor that had actually passed away but had been in an earlier Star Wars film. We’re not doing that with Carrie, although technology gives the ability to do so many different things today.
Even though Star Wars: Episode IX is a couple of years away, it still feels like it would still be far too soon to bring the actress back digitally like that. Something about it borderlines on creepy to me.
We don’t know what Lucasfilm has planned for Leia in The Last Jedi, but taking Trevorrow’s words at face value, it seems like the character would have been around for at least one more movie. Since they’re not changing Fisher’s performance, nor going with a digital recreation of the star, that leaves us with the option of dealing with the character’s fate in the opening of Episode IX.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi will premiere in theaters on December 15, 2017.