How Carrie Fisher Will Appear In the New ‘Star Wars’ Movie

The emotions are already palpable thinking about how The Rise of Skywalker is going to wrap up the stories of the original trilogy characters. For many, this means morTe than just wrapping the story up. It also means a cap on a 42-year era and encompassing every Star Wars movie we’ve seen with close family or friends.

Wrapping up profound pop culture like this is going to bring some heavy tears in December. A huge chunk of that emotion will also be the final screen appearance of Carrie Fisher as Princess (General) Leia. The actress passed away in 2016 before the release of The Last Jedi.

While her scenes in The Last Jedi already brought her character full circle, director J.J. Abrams used some clever editing methods to make sure she had a proper finale in The Rise of Skywalker. How it works compared to CGI is worth speculating on.

Forgoing CGI in favor of unused live-action footage

Carrie Fisher
Carrie Fisher | Michael Tran/FilmMagic

As stunning as it was to see a “young” Princess Leia in the standalone film Rogue One in 2017, most astute observers could still tell it was a complete CGI creation. You have to wonder how exasperated viewers were seeing that digital Leia creation in 4K when it didn’t quite look natural.

J.J. Abrams is far too astute of a filmmaker to let CGI become a crutch. Even if he’s used CGI in his films, he knows using a real person is all the more important if it’s possible.

Thankfully, there was a lot of unused footage of Carrie Fisher from The Force Awakens they apparently found some way to cobble together. Reports are Abrams managed to use this remaining footage of Fisher to help create a closing narrative for Leia.

How this works without some digital touch-ups is still up in the air. One thing we don’t want to see is mere shots of her reacting without saying anything. After all, Leia speaking was always a critical element of the Star Wars saga.

From all indications, Fisher shot some scenes with the other actors

Based on the preview footage at D23 Expo, there is one shot of Fisher with Daisy Ridley, proving there might have been a lot of scenes shot with dialogue we’ve never seen.

Some have even suggested Leia will partake in Jedi training with Rey, something rounding out her character and an official passing of the torch. Let’s also hope there’s some scenes allowing Fisher to spout her witty barbs, a trait truly defining Leia as well as Fisher in real life.

The chances are good of this happening based on Abrams confirming Leia will be the “heart” of the story. Then again, it’s likely she won’t be in every scene due to limited amounts of footage. This might be the first time Abrams had to work with prior footage, though, and finding creative ways to make it relevant to a current narrative.

What we really don’t want to see is Leia die at the end. Allowing that to happen would be far too sad for fans to take, something Abrams no doubt had to think over.

We should probably expect a lot of surprises based on Abrams’ last-minute decisions

Knowing how Abrams’ mind work in creating stories, we feel confident he’ll let Leia live, outside of her maybe never being seen again in any future Star Wars movies.

Decisions like this were perhaps 11th hour in many cases. According to Daisy Ridley, Abrams changed his mind on story directions, making even the actors feel a little unsettled about where things were going.

If part of this involves Rey turning to the dark side as the trailer suggests, Leia might have some dramatic scenes involved in this scenario. We all hope Leia has a happily ever after, but having her involved in a very dramatic finale involving further loss would place her as the true maternal figure over this new trilogy.