One of the biggest questions facing the production of Star Wars: Episode IX has been answered. Carrie Fisher, who played the iconic Leia Organa, will not be seen in the closing episode of the modern Star Wars trilogy. According to Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, the production of Episode IX essentially went back to square one.
Fisher passed away following the filming of all of her scenes in this year’s The Last Jedi, the eighth episode in the Star Wars saga. Though previously confirmed to play a role in the ninth episode, Disney and Lucasfilm were forced to weigh various options to keep one of the most beloved characters in the Star Wars franchise on the big screen. Rather than utilize CGI technology that was seen in Rogue One to feature the image of the late Peter Cushing, the decision came down to using previous footage or write the role of Leia out entirely.
“Obviously, with Carrie having passed away, it shook everybody,” Kennedy said in an interview with EW. “We pretty much started over.”
It is unfortunate the Star Wars franchise will not get the opportunity to give Fisher a chance to go out on her own in some way, as it previously did with [Spoiler alert?] Harrison Ford’s character of Han Solo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I still have faith the creative team behind the Star Wars franchise and story will find a way to be respectful to the passing of Fisher, and by extension her character of Leia.
That means The Last Jedi will be our last opportunity to pay respects to Fisher as Leia. Fortunately, her role in the film is being teased as a pretty significant one after a mild role in The Force Awakens.
“Sadly, Carrie will not be in nine,” Kennedy said. “But we will see a lot of Carrie in eight.”
Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be released on December 15, 2017. Episode IX is slated to be released on May 24, 2019.