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UPDATE! Disney Denies Talks With Carrie Fisher Estate, Will Not Digitally Recreate Her For Episode IX.

Carrie Fisher’s passing was one of the last and most devastating losses in a year where several legends of popular culture left us, and as such it’s raised numerous questions about where the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy will go without her. While there have been rumors that Lucasfilm has been discussing the matter with Carrie Fisher’s estate, a representative of Disney has commented that these rumors are not true (though this does not necessarily rule out the possibility of Leia appearing in Episode IX).

 

From The Guardian:

Disney have denied they are negotiating with Carrie Fisher’s estate for the rights to use the actor’s digital image in future Star Wars film, according to industry sources. The BBC’s Newsnight programme had reported that, “with what might be regarded as unseemly haste, Star Wars studio Disney had opened with the actor’s estate over her continued appearance in the franchise.” But in a statement the Walt Disney Company said: “Disney is not in conversations with the estate of Carrie Fisher at this time and any reports to the contrary are false.”

Still, denials come pretty cheap in the business of Hollywood, so I think it’s worth re-evaluating what we do know. For starters, we know that Carrie Fisher had already completed her work on Episode VIII, so there will probably not be any need to create a CGI double of the actress akin to what they did with Oliver Reed in Gladiator. We also know that Lucasfilm already has the rights to use Fisher’s likeness, as evident in the closing scene of Rogue One, and Fisher herself joked many times about George Lucas and his company effectively owned her appearance to the point where she’d have to pay them to look in the mirror. Another thing that we know about is that the creative heads of Lucasfilm have recently convened to figure out what to do with Leia going forward. So while they may not have officially contacted Carrie Fisher’s estate as of yet, it’s likely that it will be on the cards – obviously not for Episode VIII, but for Episode IX.

 

The matter of how Leia is going to factor into Episode IX after what’s happened is definitely going to be one that Lucasfilm is going to have to officially address soon, even if they can’t really get into the specifics without giving away the plot of the next two movies. But right now, they can certainly make plans on how they’re going to give Leia and the wonderful person who played her the send-off they deserve. However they go about doing that will be a hard decision to make, but rest assured that Carrie Fisher’s memory will be honored for the remainder of the Sequel Trilogy.

 

UPDATE!

 

The official Star Wars website has just made it explicitly clear what their plans for the future are with the following statement:

We don’t normally respond to fan or press speculation, but there is a rumor circulating that we would like to address. We want to assure our fans that Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher’s performance as Princess or General Leia Organa.

Carrie Fisher was, is, and always will be a part of the Lucasfilm family. She was our princess, our general, and more importantly, our friend. We are still hurting from her loss. We cherish her memory and legacy as Princess Leia, and will always strive to honor everything she gave to Star Wars.

So this means that Episode VIII will be the swan song for the character, at least as far as Carrie Fisher’s portrayal of her goes. There are still ways that they could integrate her story into Episode IX if her presence will still be needed (such as hiring another actress to play the character, or to use body doubles and a sound-alike to portray the character from a distance), but it appears as though the Tarkin route they took with Rogue One will be the exception and not the rule.

 

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  • soulluos

    I think it’s completely denied.

    http://www.starwars.com/news/a-statement-regarding-new-rumors

    We don’t normally respond to fan or press speculation, but there is a rumor circulating that we would like to address. We want to assure our fans that Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher’s performance as Princess or General Leia Organa.

    Carrie Fisher was, is, and always will be a part of the Lucasfilm family. She was our princess, our general, and more importantly, our friend. We are still hurting from her loss. We cherish her memory and legacy as Princess Leia, and will always strive to honor everything she gave to Star Wars.

    • ZebroGodilla

      So, either she’s written out or she’s recast. That’s… interesting. I thought a CGI person a la Rogue One was a good bet, just so the story finishes the way it was intended.

      • Kicker2

        Recast after 40 years would be extremely disconnecting in context of the story.

        • Uncle Deadly

          Good thing we are adults who know how movies work.

          • TUD

            As if we’re the only one watching these movies. I’m just wondering how mainstream audiences are going to act.

            • Tinve Rill

              Nobody really cares as long as it doesn’t ruin the story.

            • Uncle Deadly

              they will be fine

          • Pete Wells

            Exactly this. It’s very, very sad, but at the end of the day, Disney/LFL need to do what’s best for the overall story. If Leia does survive beyond Episode 8 and they do replace Carrie with another actress, I hope the fans can be mature enough to not turn it into a witch hunt.

            • obijuanmartinez

              (Then he remembered he was talking about the whiny, entitled SW fan core…)

        • Ghost of Obi Wan Kenobi

          Ala Dumbledore.

          • Kicker2

            The difference is Dumbledore face was mostly covered in beard and he wasn’t an icon for 40 years before that

            • obijuanmartinez

              But in terms of story, he was an equally vital component – same w/ Leia: You can’t just ‘chop her out’; the story will suffer, ergo the entire saga suffers (then again again, after the Prequels…). You can’t just drop stuff like her facing Kylo Ren and/or Snoke (w/ Luke?)

              • Kicker2

                Books had already been written and released to the public in the HP series with Dumbledore. Not the case with EP8 & 9. The Potter films were still pretty new, less than 4 years old. If you think they believe some other actress will be accepted as Princess Leia at her elder age after 40 years in Ep9, I don’t know what to tell you.

                • obijuanmartinez

                  And queue whiny SW fanboys – it doesn’t matter. If we’re serving the broader, better story, then a recast is the best way to go, absent this CGI / No-fly statement. Can’t just say ‘Yeah, she crashed….sorry’, or ‘Bummer, she’s in a coma…’ and leave her out of Ep. IX. That’s absurd…

                  • Kicker2

                    But I don’t want a non Carrie Leia unless they make a movie about her being a kid. She’s too iconic. And neither you or I know what they know about where the story is going.

                    • obijuanmartinez

                      I missed the bit where I said ‘easily’ replaced. But to serve the broader story – YES, they would need to replace her, unless having her sit in a Bacta Tank for Ep. IX works better for you than, say…a standoff w/ her son. And filling the role would obviously take some deliberate, reasoned thought, of course

                      And yes – In fact we DO know where the plot was headed, as it’s a statement of record that her role in IX was slotted to be bigger than VIII: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/carrie-fisher-episode-viii-how-star-wars-will-handle-leias-future-960849

                      Those of us who pay attention know where the story’s going for Leia: It’s called inductive reasoning. Reunion w/ Luke: Check. Reunion w/ sonny-boy Kylo: Check. *Possible* interaction w/ Snoke (keep in mind she mentioned him by name w/ Han before sending him off for the last time to Starkiller Base, so she knows of his existence, likely more from from Luke than any firsthand experience…)

    • mehmet ersen

      A bit disapointed to be honest. the remaining options aren’t good.

    • Good. Whatever Lucasfilm does with Episode IX, it should be done with the utmost respect in how they handle Leia regarding how they will end her story; CGI at this point wouldn’t make much sense and right now, we don’t know details on how the plots of Episode VIII and IX will play out.

      Good move by Lucasfilm.

  • patriot8813

    Ehh, I’ll go with the family said no.

    • Uncle Deadly

      More likely they didn’t even ask yet and had no plans to.

      • patriot8813

        I will continue to believe my baseless speculation that is absolutely more fact then what Disney publicly stated. Or is it Lucasfilm. Or is it both? Kidding.

  • Kicker2

    I doubt they’d bother with this statement to go opposite it later.

  • Speednet21

    I have a high degree of confidence that the LucasFilm folks will figure this out, and the final films will handle Fisher’s passing with aplomb.

  • 80sRobot

    They already have rights to her likeness for merchandising. Any legal discussion that Disney has with the Fisher family/estate in the near future will likely concern who now is in charge of this. (Billie Lourd?)

    As for what they’ll do with Leia in Episode VIII, my guess is that in the upcoming reshoots, she will die (the rumor is that Leia is in a coma due to an assassination attempt). But first Luke reunites with her and helps her pass over into the Force realm. (“I am with the Force; the Force is with me.”)

    Leadership of the Resistance will then pass onto Poe, with Snap taking over for Poe as lead pilot, and Connix promoted up to take over stuff that General Leia would have done in Episode IX.

    But who knows what Episode IX could bring — I mean, it may not be far-fetched that in IX everything changes. For example, maybe the Resistance is completely defeated by the First Order in VIII, and IX time-jumps several years after and deals with the aftermath of the First Order controlling the galaxy…?

    • Kicker2

      I also wouldn’t mind Billie Lourd’s character getting promoted as an honor to Carrie, Perhaps Leia thought of Connix like a daughter.

  • Petar Ramljak

    CGI is the only way. I would rather have real Leia of course, but reality is that Carrie is not with us anymore, and that wouldn’t be possible. I would rather have CGI than recasting, or writing Leia out of episode 9. CGI is still not at 100% with humans but it is at 98%. They could be at 100% by the end of 2019, and Leia will look amazing. They could always release Blu-ray when they perfect her CGI. CGI Leia is still Carrie Fisher on screen, and I would take that any day instead recasting, or writing off Leia’s character. And we all know Carrie loved her Rogue One CGI cameo, and she would be fine with that

    • Uncle Deadly

      People have been recast before. It will be fine.

      • The Man in Black

        I believe Princess Leia recast would be a much bigger deal than the steady line of people lining up to play Spider Man and Batman. Carrie Fisher is Princess Leia end of story.

        • obijuanmartinez

          I’m not opposed to a recast – if the difference here falls to keeping the real, intended story vs. modifying it to cut any Leia / Ben or Leia / Luke scenes, I’m 100% in support of a replacement actress…let fly the rotting fruit & veggirs in 3…2…1…

        • Uncle Deadly

          it will be fine

      • Mathew

        Agree 100%

  • Arec Baldrin (alias Grant)

    I’m okay with them replacing her with a double for a scene or two. Especially since the VIII budget is probably higher than R1 and they don’t have to re-invent the wheel. I think replacing dead actors is the way of the future but that future won’t be for another decade in terms of having them star in full-length features.

    • Ghost of Obi Wan Kenobi

      ^ It is never going to happen, 10 years or otherwise, if they don’t start somewhere. Episode IX, I’m afraid, is not going to be the bold attempt at the “future” I was hoping for…

      • Arec Baldrin (alias Grant)

        The studios have been waiting decades for this and actors band acrors have been pricing themselves out of their own profession for ages. Only thing in their way are lawyers and the laws against this are still tentative at best

  • Xavier Fierro

    I think this was a good call. Life happens stories change. I am sure there’s a way they can finish this story and Leia’s in a respectful way. I am sure her part in nine was key but star was is not an adaption of other material, there is no strict structure these characters have to abide by. As long as Leia’s presence is felt through her actions in previous movies i’m sure it will work out by the end.

    The original trilogy was changed drastically from what was initially intended for much smaller reasons compared to the loss of Carrie Fisher and yet they came out the other end as grand classics (at least to me they did). Sticking to the intended plan stubbornly can be just as dangerous as not having one in the first place. Lucasfilm just has to do its best to adapt to the challenges at hand. I actually really liked seeing Leia in Rogue one and for me it fit that film perfectly.

  • TUD

    I support Disney’s decision. Let’s let Carrier and Leia die, and try to move on. She’ll still live in our hearts and our memories.

  • The Man in Black

    Very classy move Disney.

    • Ghost of Obi Wan Kenobi

      Very safe move you mean.

      • The Man in Black

        No I meant classy. That is why I used that word.

  • The MacGuffin Guy

    Have her character pass away in 8 and have Luke give her and han a heros memorial at the end (assuming this fits in the plot) it would be an honorific sendoff and have the whole room in tears and silent reflection of what Carrie gave us as leia

  • Me Vil

    In this cases (not necessary with a sad final) I always think in Back to the future and Jennifer Parker.
    After so many years, i still see 3 masterpieces.

    Nowadays there are so many options to solve this, always respecting family and Carrie’s memories.

  • LadyMusashi

    I am truly of two minds about this. This is clearly the best decision for Carrie’s family and I have nothing but support for this

    But, I am not sure it is best for the character. Writing her off does not honor the character that in-world kept the fight alive when everyone else had something else to do, justifiably or not. And, if you recast… The most perfect recasting will not satisfy anyone, especially the fans. I know, I am the fan. Carrie was my Princess-General and vice versa. I don’t know, I cant see the way for them to do right by Carrie’s family, Carrie AND Leia. I don’t just don’t know.

    • Kenny Ritchie

      Personally, I would prefer Leia dies in Episode VIII. Perhaps they have previous footage that can be used to help construct a worthy send-off. Maybe something like what they did with Paul Walker in Fast 7. The emotional gravitas could be heightened by characters connected to her through the force (Luke and Ben Skywalker). If it requires rewrites or reshoots then so be it.

      The only consolation,and obviously it’s an incredibly small one, is that we may get more Mark Hamill screen time. We don’t yet know whether Leia was planned to be killed off or not in the ST. I always believed she would be the one OT character of the main three who would make it through alive. Perhaps having a greater role for her on-screen twin could be perceived as a way to honour her character.

    • Ahsoka342

      I am sad that carrie has passed. But I think they should recast ( I dont know who could play her). I dont want the story of star wars to be compromised. If Leia is to have a larger role in this triology (and I think she is as her son is the villian) then keep the character alive.
      To have her killed offscreen would be disrepecful to the character.
      Everyone knows Carrie has passed away, I think people will understand why a different actress is being used
      I also dont feel Luke is meant to survive this triology, I have a feeling Rey will take the reins as leader of the Jedi. Thus, I dont want them o kill off one of the orginal trio each film, as it will take away from the impact of their deaths.

  • Denton

    I keep seeing people say that a CGI recreation of her would be insulting to her memory, but wouldn’t recasting a new actress in her role be even more so?
    At least with the CGI approach, they’re attempting to capture her essence to honour her personally and bring resolution to both the story and her character.
    A new actress, to myself personally, feels like stepping into someone’s shoes when the funeral hasn’t even finished yet, if you get my meaning.

  • Clone11038

    have a crystal grave for her in IX, then somehow have kylo ren/ben get to the place. That can be an emotional reunion.

  • Villain

    So now they have to either write her out or recast. I can’t say I’m a fan of either option.

  • mehmet ersen

    If Leia dies in 8 or 9 and speaks with luke through the force it could be a way to reunite them without having Leia onscreen. All of it is compromise, it sucks tbh.

  • GeekOut

    Recast. What is Jodie Foster up to these days?

    • Robb

      Haha. I see what you did there…

  • Steven Lewis

    I think its a statement to stop the rumours building.

    There are no plans probably because they’re still in discussions on what directions the story could go with or without her, and how it will effect VIII if changes are required. Its all to early to speculate and they’re doing the right thing in stopping the rumours.

  • Peter

    This is why you don’t trust drivel like Collider.

  • Al K

    i say recast…Jodie Foster, Sigourney Weaver…or someone of that caliber…

  • Lugh

    It may also be possible that they’ll do a bit of a rewrite and hold back some of her already filmed scenes for episode 9.

    • Kicker2

      Depending on what she shot and how it works in the story they could split her role up to make enough for 8 and 9. But I don’t know the story.

  • Sdaniel18

    I honestly don’t want Disney to recast Princess Leia. Later down the road if they do a young princess Leia story, you can recast. For the past 40 years I’ve only known one person to portray Princess Leia and that is Carrie Fisher. If they cast someone else to play Leia in Episode 9, it would take me out the movie. I would rather have her character have a dignified death in Episode 8 or the beginning of Episode 9. When Leia becomes one with the Force, her death will give the new characters (Ben Solo, Rey, Poe and Finn) and the remaining Lagacy characters (Luke, Chewbacca, R2D2, C3P0) an emotional layer to their arc. Like the absence of Luke in the galaxy was the driving through line in TFA; the loss of Leia could be the motivating emotional through line in Episode 9. Luke would remain the last Skywalker on the Light side of the force and the death of Ben’s mother could complete Ben Solo’s dark side transformation into Kylo Ren, a poetic similarity of the events that turned Anakin into Darth Vader. I believe Rian Johnson’s writing and Colin Treverrow’s direction will give Princess Leia (and Carrie Fisher) the deference she requires in order to satisfy the story and fans.

  • Kicker2

    Maybe the death of his mother would be one of the things to jar Ben Solo back to humanity to the point of “What the hell have I done?”

    • The MacGuffin Guy

      That’s exactly how I envision it. From the novel it appears Ben is quite weakened by killing his father. Discovering that he has lost almost everything because of his path would be one of the fewbelievable things that could redeem him

      • DougP

        Re: “Discovering that he has lost almost everything because of his path would be one of the few believable things that could redeem him”

        Generally agree.
        fwiw – this didn’t work with Vader’s darkside descent though.

  • CosmicDolphin

    Good. I am glad they put out a statement about recreating her digitally, It looked fake in R1 but it still leaves wriggle room for the character to be in Ep 9.

    Whether some of her Ep 8 stuff could be restructured so it can slot into the next movie who knows..I expect that is one of the options on the table ..Maybe even stuff she filmed for Ep 7 that was cut could be repurposed, I’m sure they could change backdrops digitally so it looked like the scene happened elsewhere.

  • THEM!

    HYPERBOLE.
    Wait & See.

  • Rob Long

    As sad as her passing is , I only hope Disney respectfully continues the saga without having to alter the movies too far from where they were originally meant to be

  • Kent Kaliber

    This sucks. I want Leia in Ep 9.

  • Kris Loy

    I think you’re taking this way out of context. She died less than a month ago, even if they were considering digitally recreating her they would wait to do so.

  • Kicker2

    She should not be recast, they should find a way to write her out somehow, there is no perfect scenario here. People were saying Stevie Nicks. I scoffed like it was a joke, then I looked her up, some of the pics it’s almost scary how much she looks like Carrie. She is about 8 years older than Carrie, but pretty much the same height with those similar big brown eyes. I am not for a replacement in any way, I don’t want it. But they could do far worse. Check it out. Scoll down thru all the pics http://societyofrock.com/could-stevie-nicks-stand-in-for-carrie-fisher-in-star-wars-the-resemblance-is-identical/

    • BobaJob

      Yeah – that’s quite uncanny, not sure if she can act though!

  • The Original Drew #BAEROD

    This is the best move. Recast, pay respect to the character and move. It sucks we lost Carrie but Leia the character deserves the right and intended ending.

    • Kicker2

      NO, they weren’t even going to recast the original leads if they turned down doing the new trilogy.

      • The Original Drew #BAEROD

        Apples to oranges.

  • insanekyo

    Recast if her role was big, rewrite if her role was minor. With all due respects to Carrie Fisher,the character is bigger then the actor.

  • Dave Partridge

    The BBC spreading ‘fake news’? Surely not…!? ;)

  • BobaJob

    I don’t really see what the problem with using CGI is (technical issues aside). I truly think CF would have been more than happy to allow it (and would probably have found it hilarious). If I was her family, recasting or writing her out and therefore making either her acting or character appear disposable would be more insulting than seeing that she was valued enough to warrant using time consuming and expensive CGI to keep her in the franchise.

    • Samuel Wallace

      It being such new territory with yet-unexplored ramifications, it should be treated on a case by case, personal opinion basis. Fisher’s family does deserve a say. That said, Disney isn’t turning the option down for moral reasons alone, but for business reasons. They’ll already get a lot of people into VIII on the merit of “Carrie Fisher’s Final Film” alone, and they don’t want to go muddying things up with what could be a potential controversy among fans; letting her stay in peace is the safer route. This is one case of a subjectively debatable moral decision being backed up by an objectively sound business decision.

  • Samuel Wallace

    I believe the best recourse is to focus on the final edit of the film, highlight characters that will carry IX’s plot and properly set them up, reshoot necessary connective footage for the expanded roles. The major problem areas will be story flow given such late revision, and the potential lack of footage wherein Leia interacts (thereby passes torch) with her Ep XI plot-duty-replacements. Hopefully, they were ALREADY letting Leia bond with new characters to pass emphasis off of her to the new generation, and thus it’ll be a matter of re-distributing emphasis with the pieces already in place. But if they DID NOT give such baton-passing scenes to Leia within Ep VIII, then more hefty revisions will be needed. I know that Disney is really big on their adherence to release dates, but I think EVERYONE, crew and audience, would benefit from a delayed release date for necessary re-tailoring of the film; only, Disney’s extensive marketing legion would need to re-issue their marketing material with new dates, so Disney probably will probably uphold the current schedule. Of course, all of this is precluded by the assumption that Leia’s character would have significantly more bearing on the plot than she did in Episode VII; if she is just as unimportant to the plot of Episode VIII, then it’s actually a non-issue, though if her character was already given such low status in the script, that in itself would be patently a disappointment. Hopefully, her character is moderately important; important enough to garner the interest and send the character off properly, but not SO important that it messes up the plot structure of Episode IX’s first act.