December 27th 2016 was a mournful and sad day for many people. To Star Wars Fans we lost our Princess, for Mark Hamill a long time friend, for Todd Fisher a sister and for Billie Lourd a mother. And within 24 hours Debbie Reynolds (mother of Carrie, grandmother of Billie) passed away. Such an awful tragedy, especially during a time when families should be together, with joy and happiness. Throughout 2016 we lost many idols. I remember when news broke on December 23, 2016 that Carrie had suffered a medical emergency, Fans hoped and prayed for her recovery. Messages, art from Fan young and old worldwide hoping she’d be alright: “Not our Princess”. Then news broke of her passing. It was devastating. One can not imagine what her family and friends went through that Christmas.
Carrie Fisher has left her mark on this world. She will always be remembered. And her legacy will continue in Episode IX and for years to come. “No one’s ever really gone.”
Episode IX was originally going to be Carrie Fisher’s film, like how The Force Awakens was Harrison Ford’s and how The Last Jedi was Mark Hamill’s. These plans for Episode IX were then changed due to Carrie’s passing. How to tell the story of Episode IX with Leia but with out Carrie? And despite her passing they were not just going to write her out the final film.
“We desperately loved Carrie Fisher, Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast, or use a CG character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie, we have found a way to honour Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII.”
– J.J. Abrams
While we don’t know the nature of the footage Abrams will be using from both The Force Awakens & The Last Jedi to bring Leia back in Episode IX, Carrie Fisher’s brother Todd Fisher has said that he is delighted with the way that the Star Wars crew are handling her inclusion in the final film.
“There’s a lot of minutes of footage, I don’t mean just outtakes. This is unused, new content that could be woven into the storyline. That’s what’s going to give everybody such a great kick.”
“It’s going to look like it was meant to be. Like it was shot yesterday. We’re not allowed to talk about the details of anything, but we’re thrilled at what’s been done.”
“We have a lot of her artifacts, and a lot of things of hers that she’s written that will someday be shared. There’s a lot more to come from Carrie.”
– Todd Fisher
During 2017 in the run up to Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, director Rian Johnson revealed that the early cut of the film was over 3 hours long, before being cut to final theatrical length of 2 hours 31 minutes (151 minutes).
“We had a long movie from the start. It was well over three hours, the first cut… It’s much better at two and a half [hours] than it was at over three, but it was a cut I had put together, is where we started. And it was over three hours.”
– Rian Johnson
So it is entirely possible that there is some unused footage from Episode VIII: The Last Jedi that we might see in Episode IX of Leia. As there were some “small scenes” of Carrie that were not used in the final cut of The Last Jedi. Though according to Rian Johnson there wasn’t anything “big and significant” that was cut.
“There weren’t any big scenes, there were smaller scenes that, structurally just ended up falling away. Same as there were with any of the other characters. But there wasn’t any big and significant.”
“I had a conversation with J.J. [Abrams], [and said] you can take a look at anything we didn’t use. But I don’t think there’s anything there. The truth is, there isn’t a ton of her that we shot that we didn’t use in this movie.”
– Rian Johnson
Looks like we’ll just have to wait and see what J.J. does with what remaining footage is left of Carrie for Episode IX. I’ll take Todd’s word on the footage he’s seen. If he, the brother of Carrie Fisher says it “looks like it was shot yesterday” I’ll buy it. This is someone who has lost someone very close to him and for him to say that, the work the crew has put in, it must mean a lot to him. That it looks like it’s meant to be.
Star Wars: Episode IX hit theaters on December 20th, 2019.
Written by: Connor Heggie