'Star Wars 9' leak suggests heavy de-aging CGI in opening scene flashback

Two classic characters might be digitally de-aged for a nostalgic scene. But does this make sense?

After the tragic and sudden death of Carrie Fisher, Lucasfilm has repeatedly said that a digital version of the the late actress would not be used for Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker. Now, a new rumor suggests the film will use digitally de-aged versions of very familiar characters, but not in a way anyone thought. The leak/rumor sounds amazing, but does it make sense?

Possible huge spoilers for The Rise of Skywalker ahead. If the following rumor turns out to be true, you might not want to know this.

Last week, Making Star Wars claimed a new plot leak from The Rise of Skywalker outright revealed the very first scene of the movie, and, shockingly, that that scene is a freaking flashback. In case you missed it, here’s exactly what the “leak” claimed will happen in the movie.

“After the opening crawl, we pan from space. The camera moves towards a planet covered in trees. We see a blue lightsaber dueling a green lightsaber in the distance. Both of the lightsabers are held in hand by two Jedi with white helmets with visors covering their faces so we cannot immediately recognize if this is Rey with someone new. The two Jedi break from their duel and remove their helmets to reveal Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa looking exactly the age they did in Return of the Jedi on Endor’s moon. The movie begins with a flashback.”

OK, so this sounds freakin’ awesome, right? Can we get this scene, please? Here are some reasons why it seems really unlikely, but also, why there’s hope it could happen.

Luke and Leia


Star Wars movies are already flashbacks, so this would be really weird

Star Wars movies have never begun with a flashback, mostly because this entire story is one giant flashback that happened “a long time ago.” This isn’t to say that Rise of Skywalker couldn’t do something unprecedented with the basic structure of Star Wars movies; it just feels pretty radical. While you could argue that both Rogue One and Solo began with “flashbacks” or “prologues,” both of those films dealt with the stories of specific characters — Jyn Erso and Han Solo, respectively — and those character arcs played in a fairly linear way thereafter. In other words, having a flashback to Return of the Jedi, which happens three decades prior to the events of the new films, would be very strange.

Starting a movie with digitally de-aged Skywalker twins would be risky AF

While this sounds decidedly rad, beginning the movie with two actors who are, in a sense, not there, might be a little distracting. It’s going to be hard enough for the audience to suspend their disbelief about Carrie Fisher having not actually participated in this movie, but hitting everyone with a cold open in which we’re all focused on the de-aging effects and not the story might not be worth the effort. True, the CGI Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One was utterly convincing, but the CGI young Leia at the end of the movie? Not so much.

Then again, this hypothetical scene would solve certain plot problems

One small detail in the leak that is worth noting is that a blue lightsaber is clashing with a green lightsaber. Perhaps this scene could neatly explain how Luke’s first blue lightsaber (originally built by Anakin) made it back into play after being presumed lost on Cloud City. If the flashback scene sets anything up, the journey of this lightsaber might be the most important.

Plus, The Last Jedi already demonstrated that Leia has highly advanced Force powers, so showing that she trained with Luke would retroactively make a lot of sense. And all of it would be a nice way to set up the idea of Leia training Rey, assuming that ends up happening, too.

Luke and Leia in 'The Last Jedi'


The scene could happen simply because Lucasfilm can do it and everyone would love it

As mentioned, there are a lot of challenges with this scene, and there’s something about it that smells way too fan service-y to be real. That isn’t to say Lucasfilm couldn’t pull it off. After all, they have digital copies of everyone scanned already, so on the technical side, they could do it.

Plus, this is the ending of the Skywalker saga, right? That means we’ve got to have some really strong feelings about people in that family, and we need to start having those feelings from the very start. The Rise of Skywalker might not really be a movie about plot or tying up loose ends in the galaxy. Instead, it might just be two hours and 15 minutes of feelings. And if Abrams is going to lean hard on the nostalgia and really make us care about this tragic space family one more time, then it’s possible that some flashback version of young Luke and Leia might happen after all.

And if it doesn’t happen? Well, it was nice to think that it would. For two more months we all get to create the most perfect version of Rise of Skywalker in our heads, which means, that in some ways, the most fun version of the movie is already playing in our imaginations.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is out everywhere on December 20, 2019.

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