There was a great disturbance in the Force when, at the tail-end of 2016, actor Carrie Fisher sadly passed away. The revered Star Wars icon had completed her scenes for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, released one year later, and a CGI facsimile of her younger self had just recently appeared during the final moments of prequel movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Of course, this left a pressing question: how would Leia be incorporated into 2019's The Rise of Skywalker? The final moments of The Last Jedi gave us the long-overdue reunion between Leia and her brother Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), just prior to him passing into the Force. Nevertheless, there was a sense that Leia had a lot more to give in The Rise of Skywalker.
The answer, remarkably, came from technical wizardry: director JJ Abrams revealed that Leia's role in The Rise of Skywalker would be comprised of unused footage from the previous two movies. While we await the finished result with interest, Fisher's brother Todd has, rather poignantly, revealed that Leia was to play an even more significant role prior to his sister's death.
"She was going to be the big payoff in the final film," he tells Yahoo! Entertainment. "She was going to be the last Jedi, so to speak. That’s cool right? The truth is that J.J. Abrams was great friends with Carrie... he had an extraordinary sense of love for her."
Necessity is the mother of invention, and Fisher says that Abrams, unable to fully weave the late actor into the narrative, had to get creative. "They had eight minutes of footage. They grabbed every frame and analyzed it... and then reverse-engineered it and [got] it into the story the right way. It’s kind of magical."
Regardless of the technical difficulties, it sounds like Carrie Fisher will be getting the send-off she deserves. "This is, in its own way, a payoff," Todd Fisher says. "It’s Carrie talking to us all from beyond. The beautiful thing about the concept of the Force is that there is no real death; you just exist in another dimension. So Carrie is looking down or sideways or wherever and is still part of us. To be able to see that — it’s magical stuff only in the movies."
It sounds like we'll all have to brace for emotional impact when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker arrives in Cineworld cinemas on the 19th of December. Tweet us @Cineworld with your favourite Carrie Fisher Star Wars moments.