Todd Fisher: Episode IX Will Involve Leia Like it Was Meant to Be
It’s been two years since Carrie Fisher passed away following a heart attack, but her iconic Star Wars character, Princess/General Leia Organa, lives on. Carrie’s brother Todd told ABC News’ Clayton Sandell how Episode IX is going to use footage from both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi to give an iconic cinema heroine a complete story arc. Sandell previously broke this news this past summer when he was a guest on our podcast The Resistance Broadcast.
Speaking to ABC News, Todd Fisher stated that he agreed to allow Lucasfilm to make use of any archive footage of Carrie Fisher for the final installment of the Skywalker Saga. He also confirmed that plans to use Episode IX as a send-off to Leia are more extensive than previously realized:
“There’s a lot of minutes of footage. I don’t mean just outtakes. This is unused, new content that could be woven into the storyline. That’s what’s going to give everybody such a great kick. It’s going to look like it was meant to be. Like it was shot yesterday. We’re not allowed to talk about the details of anything, but we’re thrilled at what’s been done.”
The wording that Fisher uses definitely makes it seem like this is going to be considerably more than a cameo of only a few minutes or so, and that Leia will be alive during the main portion of the story for Episode IX. It sounds a lot like Lucasfilm are going to use as much footage of Leia as possible, meaning that the film can be Leia-focused in the same way that The Force Awakens was Han-focused and The Last Jedi was Luke-focused. It’s sad that Fisher never lived to film anything for this movie, but it’s heartwarming to know that the people involved are committed toward giving her story a proper ending.
It’s been suggested by concept art that The Force Awakens originally had a sequence where Leia would call in a massive ship that could serve as a battering ram to plow through multiple Star Destroyers, an idea which was sort of reworked for The Last Jedi. Rumors indicated that Leia gave a rousing speech that would detail the Resistance’s battle plan as they worked to get a fighter to destabilize Starkiller Base’s thermal oscillator, but this part of the climax was cut out for budgetary and pacing concerns. But if it were actually filmed, then it seems like it could easily be mixed up a little to show General Leia carry out military strategy.
In any case, this would not be the first time that a film makes use of existing footage and clever editing to provide a send-off to a character. For instance, Oliver Reed died in the last few weeks of the production of Gladiator, but thanks to digital editing, they were able to repurpose existing scenes and content from rehearsals to have him appear in the few scenes that Reed never got to film. Years later, it’s still hard to tell that they used CGI for some of these shots. You can see what footage was reused in the video below:
Technology has come a long way since Gladiator, though. While Lucasfilm have stated that they aren’t planning on making Leia a character portrayed entirely through a virtual performance, it seems inevitable that some CGI will have to be used and some new lines will have to be recorded with someone who sounds a lot like Fisher. However, the majority of the performance is likely to be made up of content that was filmed for The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi as opposed to something created after Fisher’s death.
No one’s ever really gone. Perhaps, then, it’s only appropriate that we’ll get to see Leia on the big screen one last time. We have high hopes that Lucasfilm will be able to handle the character’s role in Episode IX gracefully, and that the Fisher family’s requests for the film will be honored.
Star Wars: Episode IX will be released on December 20, 2019.
Grant has been a fan of Star Wars for as long as he can remember, having seen every movie on the big screen. When he’s not hard at work with his college studies, he keeps himself busy by reporting on all kinds of Star Wars news for SWNN and general movie news on the sister site, Movie News Net. He served as a frequent commentator on SWNN’s The Resistance Broadcast.