‘Star Wars’ Director J.J. Abrams on Just How They Made the Late Carrie Fisher a Part of ‘The Rise of Skywalker’

One of the biggest questions going into J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is how the movie is going to treat scenes featuring the late Carrie Fisher. The actress tragically passed away in 2016, shortly before the release of the previous movie in the franchise, Star Wars: The Last Jedi. While Abrams and his team could have written off Fisher’s character following her death, they decided to keep her part intact. So how did they make the late actress a part of The Rise of Skywalker?

Star Wars the Rise of Skywalker Carrie Fisher
‘Star Wars’ star Carrie Fisher | Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for US-IRELAND ALLIANCE

Abrams opens up about Fisher’s last ‘Star Wars’ scenes

Although Abrams could have taken the easy way out and cut Fisher from the final project, he did not feel like this would have been the right move, both for Fisher and her character, General Leia Organa.

So instead, the Star Wars director started to think of ways he could include Fisher in the final movie of the franchise without going overboard on the CGI.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Abrams said that he realized they had a bunch of unused footage of Fisher from Star Wars: The Force Awakens which totally worked in the third film. As incredible as it sounds, Abrams was able to use this footage to put Fisher in the movie without jumping through a bunch of digital hoops.

“It was like finding this impossible answer to this impossible question.  Suddenly we had classic Carrie in these amazing moments. So when you see her in the movie, it’s her, she’s there. It’s not like there’s some crazy digital trickery. She’s just in the movie,” Abrams shared.

While we cannot wait to see how the last Star Wars movie honors Fisher’s legacy in the franchise, her brother recently dished on what the movie might have looked like if she was still alive today.

Was General Leia Organa the last Jedi?

In the previous installment, The Last Jedi, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) says that he “will not be the last Jedi” at the end of the film.

Star Wars fans have argued for years over what the line meant and Fisher’s brother, Todd Fisher, claims that it was a clear reference to General Leia. Ahead of the release of The Rise of Skywalker, he revealed that the original plan was to have General Leia become a Jedi in the final movie.

“She was going to be the big payoff in this final film,” he shared. “That’s what the intent was. She was going to be the last Jedi, so to speak… People used to say to me, ‘Why is it that Carrie never gets a lightsaber and chops up some bad guys?’”

But with Fisher’s untimely death, Abrams and his team shifted gears and all the attention is now on Daisy Ridley’s Rey, who was also supposed to be one of the “last Jedis” of the franchise.

We still do not know what kind of role General Leia will play in the final Star Wars movie, but we are definitely excited to see how her story wraps up. Given how they went to great lengths to include her in the movie, we are confident that Abrams did her justice.

What other original ‘Star Wars’ characters are returning to action?

Aside from Fisher, there are a number of original characters returning to the fray in The Rise of Skywalker. This includes an appearance by Billy Dee Williams, who was last seen as Lando Calrissian in Return of the Jedi.

In a recent interview, Williams teased that a lot has happened since we last saw Lando and that fans will learn what he has been up to all these years.

The new movie will also see the return of C-3PO, who appeared in the latest trailer for the movie. This will be the first time 3PO has had a significant part in the franchise since A New Hope.

‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ drops new footage

Speaking of trailers, the second promotional video was billed as the last trailer for The Rise of Skywalker. Turns out that was not the case.

Disney just posted some new footage of the upcoming movie on Instagram. The clip features a scene of Rey looking at Darth Vader’s damaged mask, a shot of some Stormtroopers doing what they do best, and an action sequence involving a ship’s hangar.

Although it was great to see some new Star Wars footage, Abrams reiterated that there is a lot more where that came from. Between watching Fisher in her final role to seeing what becomes of some of the franchise’s original characters, we cannot wait to see what Abrams and his team came up with.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is due to hit theaters on December 20th.