Leia Was Going To Be The Last Jedi Before Carrie Fisher’s Passing

Carrie Fisher, everyone’s beloved Princess Leia/General Organa, will go down in history for being a significant part of the original Star Wars movies. The news of her death in December 2016 struck the hearts of many fans, devasting millions. Her passing also impacted her character, Leia’s, ending arc, and changed the way the final film, The Rise of Skywalker, ended. 

Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) holds a gun in 'Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope.'
Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in ‘Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope’ | Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

Luke Skywalker was not the only twin with Jedi powers

In a new interview with Yahoo, Fisher’s brother Todd Fisher told further details about Leia’s arc that will never see the light of day on the big screen. Initially, the final movie was going to reveal Leia as a Jedi knight, complete with a lightsaber and all. 

“She was going to be the big payoff in the final film,” he said. “She was going to be the last Jedi, so to speak. That’s cool right? People used to say to me, ‘Why is it that Carrie never gets a lightsaber and chops up some bad guys.’ Obi-Wan was in his prime when he was Carrie’s age!” 

Episode VIII — The Last Jedi was a mystery before it premiered since fans wondered who the title was referring to. Those that saw the film know Luke becomes one with the Force, essentially dying. Since Leia is never seen formally training as a Jedi, many assumed it was Luke or Rey. But as Todd revealed, Leia was originally intended to be the last Jedi. This leaves a question about “What about Rey,” but maybe fans will see a new era come about in The Rise of Skywalker.

There were plans to give Leia a lightsaber, making it canon

As ScreenRant pointed out, Leia does get a lightsaber and more powers in novels and stories outside of the films. However, that was before Episode VII — The Force Awakens and the continued trilogy. So none of those Jedi versions of Leia technically exist in canon. Fans of hers certainly saw this as a loss, and now won’t get that version of Leia on screen, either. 

Carrie Fisher will still appear in ‘Rise of Skywalker’

Carrie Fisher and brother Todd Fisher pose with their mother Debbie Reynolds.
Debbie Reynolds with her kids Carrie and Todd Fisher, in front of Reynolds’ film memorabilia museum | Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images

Don’t worry about Leia missing from the final installment of the Skywalker saga, though. “The truth is that J.J. Abrams was great friends with Carrie,” Todd told Yahoo. “He had an extraordinary sense of love for her. They had eight minutes of footage. They grabbed every frame and analyzed it… and then reverse-engineered it and [got] it into the story the right way.”

With that eight minutes of footage, Abrams was able to give Leia — and Carrie Fisher — a great sendoff worthy of everyone’s beloved princess. “It’s kind of magical. This is, in its own way, a payoff,” Todd said. “It’s Carrie talking to us all from beyond. The beautiful thing about the concept of the Force is that there is no real death; you just exist in another dimension.”

Fisher’s brother assured fans that it’s still a great ending

There was some backlash when Rogue One used a CGI version of Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin and Fisher as A New Hope Leia. But Todd tells Yahoo that this reworking of unused footage is not only a “payoff,” but a lovely way for Carrie Fisher to say goodbye to the franchise. “So Carrie is looking down or sideways or wherever and is still part of us,” he said. “To be able to see that — it’s magical stuff only in the movies.”