At the end of The Force Awakens, General Leia and the Resistance were triumphant in destroying the First Order’s Starkiller Base, leading fans to believe that Leia would continue on leading the remnants of the Rebel Alliance and eventually confront her son, Kylo Ren, after he killed Han Solo. But the untimely death of actress Carrie Fisher has thrown the future of the character into flux.
Reports said that Fisher completed her work on director Rian Johnson’s upcoming as-yet-untitled Episode VIII, but according to The Hollywood Reporter, sources say the Lucasfilm Story Group braintrust is meeting soon to map plausible ways to continue the Star Wars story without Fisher but still honor her indelible legacy.
Apparently, the character was supposed to be included in two major scenes in both Episode VIII and Director Colin Trevorrow’s still far-off Episode IX installment, including one that featured a reunion with her brother Luke Skywalker and another that would have been a confrontation with her son, the former Ben Solo, Kylo Ren.
THR also reported that she was supposed to have a bigger role in Episode IX than in Episode VIII, hence the Lucasfilm meetings that will attempt to rewrite the story trajectory heading into the later episode.
So what does this mean? Either they can write Leia out entirely or try to recreate Fisher’s image as a CG Leia like they did for Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin character in Rogue One. The former seems like an unjustly ignominious end to one of the most essential characters to the entire beloved saga, while the latter just kind of feels wrong besides the fact that many felt the CG Rogue One resurrection was an Uncanny Valley distraction.
There aren’t really many good options here, but the most recent Star Wars movies have had a good track record with fixing certain difficulties in reshoots. The Lucasfilm Story Group seem like they have the best kind of fans-first mentality that will come up with a way to make Leia’s absence as important as her appearance, but it still must seem like an impossible task for people still grieving the loss of an acting legend.