There’ve been plenty of conflicting reports when it comes to whether or not General Leia Organa will have a role to play in the upcoming Star Wars: Episode IX. Even if the plan was to have Leia be the focus of the new trilogy’s conclusion, the untimely death of actress Carrie Fisher complicated that plan. Despite Lucasfilm saying there won’t be any CGI Leia in Episode IX, a supposed storyboard plot leak for the movie says otherwise.
Earlier this month, a redditor going by FOOSLS posted to the /r/starwarsspeculation/ subreddit claiming to “have read a very early storyboard for Episode IX.” In addition to having some serious Knights of the Old Republic feels, the plot summary they provided also included a crucial role for Leia, one that has her confront her son Ben Solo using the Force, all to save Rey. FOOSLS accurately predicted a number of The Last Jedi plot points before, so it’s possible that their information is accurate — but it also might be outdated.
However, for all we know the “storyboard” that FOOSLS is referencing could very well be an early draft of the movie. In a May 2017 Vanity Fair cover story about The Last Jedi, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy said of Fisher’s work on the franchise: “She was having a blast. The minute she finished, she grabbed me and said, ‘I’d better be at the forefront of IX!’ Because Harrison was front and center on VII, and Mark is front and center on VIII. She thought IX would be her movie. And it would have been.” Essentially, Fisher would have been the main heroine, but all that could have changed by now.
In June 2017, when he was still the director of Episode IX, Colin Trevorrow said that Fisher’s death would “be handled with love and respect,” which echoed Lucasfilm’s official word in January 2017 that they wouldn’t bring back Carrie Fisher with CGI.
There’s a whole lot of conflicting information. Carrie Fisher’s brother has said that she would be in Episode IX, and considering the fact that Lucasfilm has digital clones of pretty much every Star Wars character, it’s technically — and technologically — possible.
Much more recently, Mark Hamill called Fisher, his co-star and long-time friend, “irreplaceable,” adding, “I know the script had been developed enough that when we lost her, they had to go back to square one.” All things considered, we almost definitely won’t see CGI Carrie Fisher facing off against Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren, but Episode IX will have to do something to explain away Leia’s absence. So who knows what could happen.