Following Carrie Fisher’s tragic, sudden death in December, there's been a great deal of speculation regarding whether or not she’ll appear in the final episode of the most recent Star Wars trilogy.
At the time of Fisher’s death, The Last Jedi had completed production and Episode IX had yet to begin filming. It’s hard to imagine a Star Wars film without Fisher, and Lucasfilm has struggled to figure out the best manner to handle the matter. On Friday, the production company’s president Kathleen Kelly announced that Fisher won’t appear in Episode IX at all.
Kennedy’s announcement clears up some previous confusion regarding Fisher’s potential role in Episode IX. Last weekend, the late actress’ brother, Todd Fisher, told the press that she may appear in the film because the family had agreed to let the studio use previously shot footage.
Instead of using the footage, Lucasfilm has opted to adjust the plot of Episode IX.
“We finished everything in Episode VIII, and Carrie is absolutely phenomenal in the movie, and we’re so happy that we were able to complete shooting in the summer,” Kennedy told Good Morning America. “Unfortunately, Carrie passed away, and so by the time we were well underway with Episode IX in our thoughts, we had not written the script yet. But we’ve regrouped. We started over again in January. So, sadly, Carrie will not be in IX. But we’ll see a lot of her in Episode VIII, which is great.”
Leia has an expanded role in The Last Jedi, so what does this mean for Episode IX? Kennedy didn’t elaborate on how filmmakers plan to move ahead on the next installment sans Princess Leia, but it seems highly unlikely that she’ll be recast. After all, it’s next-to-impossible to picture anyone other than Fisher in this role.
The Last Jedi is scheduled to hit theaters on on December 15, so fans will get to see Fisher’s final performance in the role that made her an icon.