Skip to main content

In many ways, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was the end of an era. Not only is it the final film in a trilogy, it’s also the last Star Wars film featuring new footage of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, as Fisher passed away in 2016. You won’t believe who served as her body double in The Rise of Skywalker.

A wax figure of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia | Clemens Bilan/Getty Images

Someone close to Carrie Fisher played the part

No one was surprised when Billie Lourd, Fisher’s daughter, became an actress. Not only was she part of a show business family, she also displayed acting talent through her roles in American Horror Story. What surprised fans is how she portrayed Leia in The Rise of Skywalker, reports Yahoo! Entertainment.

Patrick Tubach is the Visual Effects Supervisor at Industrial Light and Magic. He confirmed rumors that Lourd was used as Fisher’s stand-in for part of The Rise of Skywalker. He said Lourd’s performance lasted seconds, but was nonetheless emotional for those on set.

According to MTV, Tubach said “It was an emotional thing for everybody to see her in that position. It felt great for us, too. If you’re going to have someone play [Fisher’s] part, it’s great that it’s [Billie] because there are a lot of similarities between them that we were able to draw from. The real challenge was just making the Leia footage we had to work with fit in that scene.”

Carrie Fisher in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope | Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

Leia was also included in ‘Rise of Skywalker’ through other means

Lourd’s scenes aren’t the only scenes in the movie featuring Leia. There’s also a scene depicting a young Luke Skywalker training her as a Jedi. Tubach played Luke in that scene and explained how the scene was created through digital effects.

He said “What you see is what we developed. The idea was to provide this great surprise where they take the helmets off, and you see Luke and Leia’s younger faces. We scoured outtakes from the original movies, and we took some pieces and then had to try and figure out the technical aspect of putting that shot together.”

Now two Star Wars films have featured a CGI rendering of Fisher: The Rise of Skywalker and Rogue One. Could a third film use her likeness? Tubach said ”The truth is that Carrie was a friend of J.J. and Billie is a friend of J.J. They talked a lot about that, and I think the heart of it is the utmost respect for Carrie and her memory and her performance.”

Other studios have gone in a different direction

Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau | Bettmann / Contributor

Disney’s approach to using Fisher’s likeness in The Rise of Skywalker is very different from other studio’s. The Los Angeles Times reports United Artists got in trouble for their use of Peter Sellers clips in The Trail of the Pink Panther. His wife, Lynne Prederick, hated the film.

Frederick sued United Artists and the film’s director, Blake Edwards. She was awarded $1 million in damages. Frederick said ″It was an appalling film, very bad indeed, not a tribute to my husband but an insult to his memory.″ It seems like Disney won’t repeat United Artist’s mistake.