Following the untimely passing of Carrie Fisher in December 2016, all Star Wars fans found themselves consumed with one question: would she in fact appear in Star Wars: Episode IX?
Fortunately, Fisher had already finished filming her role as Leia in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, released in 2017 and directed by Rian Johnson. But her involvement in 2019's third and final trilogy movie, directed by Star Wars: The Force Awakens film-maker J.J. Abrams, was thrown in doubt.
Pretty swiftly, Abrams confirmed Fisher would indeed appear as General Leia, adding that her role would be comprised of unused footage from The Force Awakens. ("Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us," he said.)
And now the late actor's brother Todd has been discussing her appearance in Abrams' next Star Wars epic, and says he's "thrilled" with the results.
In an interview with Good Morning America, Todd Fisher revealed the following: "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."
This will no doubt come as a relief to the Star Wars and Carrie Fisher fans who want to see her legacy maintained. The sentiment is echoed by Abrams: "We were never going to recast, or use a CG character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie, we have found a way to honour Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII."
Star Wars: Episode IX brings back Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren and Oscar Isaac as Poe. Mark Hamill will also return as Luke Skywalker (something we're also curious about, given the events of The Last Jedi), along with original trilogy veterans Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian and Anthony Daniels as C-3PO.
Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, Dominic Monaghan, Matt Smith and Keri Russell are among the new faces in the cast. Star Wars: Episode IX is with us on 19th December 2019.