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‘Star Wars’ Creatives Meeting to Address Carrie Fisher’s Expanded Role in Sequels

Lucasfilm
Lucasfilm

Without knowing the scope of Carrie Fisher’s role in the upcoming Star Wars sequels, it’s difficult to speculate about how Lucasfilm might address her recent passing. But a new report has uncovered key details (and potential spoilers) regarding General Leia’s narrative arc in Episodes VIII and IX,  and reveals that Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy is planning to meet with director Colin Trevorrow next week to contemplate their options for Leia’s role in the forthcoming sequels.

Leia’s role, according to THR, was to be expanded in both Episodes VIII and IX — though Fisher was meant to have a much more prominent part in the latter. Specifically, Leia had two key scenes in the sequels: Reuniting with Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker and confronting Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren, who was revealed as Leia’s son in The Force Awakens. The corresponding sequels and scenes are unclear, though it’s fair to assume that the Luke reunion would happen in Episode VIII (which has already completed filming under director Rian Johnson) and the Kylo showdown would take place in Episode IX.

Trevorrow is directing the third installment, which he’s also co-scripting with Derek Connolly. While the production timeline hasn’t been officially confirmed, THR speculates that Episode IX would begin filming in early 2018 for its 2019 release, based on the schedules for the previous installments.

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy will meet with Trevorrow (and, presumably, the story group) next week to weigh their options in the wake of Fisher’s passing. With Episode VIII in post-production, it’s likely that Fisher already completed her key scenes for that film; should Leia be needed for reshoots, there are reasonable workarounds (a stand-in, repurposing existing footage, etc.). While Episode IX was to have a much more substantial role for Fisher’s General, Kennedy & Co. have several months to course-correct, though any plot changes may have a backwards ripple affect on Episode VIII, and may call for some creative retooling and additional reshoots with Johnson.

There’s always the troubling possibility that Lucasfilm may decide to implement the CGI technology they used to bring Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin back to life in Rogue One, which also featured a cameo from a younger CGI version of Fisher’s Princess Leia. The former generated much more backlash, as Tarkin was weirdly given a pretty substantial role — far too substantial for such shaky (often literally) rendering, which had a rather unnerving, uncanny quality about it, sort of like a video game character.

To give Fisher the same CGI treatment in Episode IX would be a huge mistake, and one that would inevitably lead to significant backlash. There was already a morally dubious element to digitally recreating Cushing, who passed away in 1994; doing the same for Fisher now seems borderline exploitative at best.

Hopefully Kennedy and Trevorrow can come up with a solution that works for their story and honors Fisher’s memory in the Star Wars universe in a thoughtful way.

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