Star Wars: Episode IX began filming this past week, and the excitement just continues to build for the sequel trilogy’s conclusion.
The film reunites many prominent stars from the sequel era of Star Wars, as well as some notable figures from the original trilogy, but sadly the iconic Carrie Fisher will not be a part of the production following her death in December 2016. Director J.J. Abrams and star Mark Hamill notably reflected on the bittersweet process of beginning filming without Fisher, but as Luke Skywalker said in The Last Jedi, “no one’s ever really gone.”
Before beginning filming, Lucasfilm announced that in Episode IX Fisher will reprise the role of General Leia Organa one last time, using unreleased footage shot for The Force Awakens.
It turns out they may be utilizing unreleased footage shot for The Last Jedi, too.
Star Wars News Net had that report on Friday, as ABC News’ Clayton Sandell spoke to SWNN shortly after speaking with Todd Fisher, Carrie’s brother. Here’s what Sandell told SWNN about his conversation with Fisher:
“I talked to Todd Fisher today about all of this and he has been talking with J. J. Abrams about it. I asked him, because the press release only said The Force Awakens so I asked about The Last Jedi, and they are also using unused footage from The Last Jedi. I asked him how many minutes of footage they had from it and he said ‘I can’t tell you that!’”
“He (Todd Fisher) said there were big surprises coming – big surprises with this movie, this performance, and the unused footage – and said – this one is really for the fans.”
“But they apparently have a number of unused minutes from both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.”
“Todd and the whole family are very excited and wanted it to happen.”
There are a couple of things to note about what Sandell says here. First of all, we must caution that this isn’t 100% confirmed, as Todd Fisher isn’t exactly working directly on the film. However, he surely knows at least some generalities about the footage Lucasfilm is thinking about using of Carrie Fisher, and remember that months ago he mentioned Fisher’s return as a possibility. So though it’s not confirmed, this report should nonetheless be treated as very credible.
Second, Todd Fisher said that footage from both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi will be used. In all honesty this isn’t too surprising, but it’s noteworthy since Lucasfilm’s release only mentioned TFA. I think this is good news, too, as I thought that Fisher’s performance and role in TLJ was especially great. I do wonder, though, how much unreleased and unused footage of Leia there is from The Last Jedi, as I would guess that it’s probably less than there is from The Force Awakens. Remember, Rian Johnson said in December that there weren’t any big scenes of Fisher cut from the film and that most of it made it into the final cut. Johnson said he had talked with Abrams and given him permission to look at any of the unused footage, but didn’t think it would amount to much. But for Abrams, paired with the footage he shot for TFA and the creative process of writing the script, perhaps some of Johnson’s footage from TLJ will indeed prove useful.
Third, and perhaps most intriguingly, Fisher mentioned that there are “big surprises” coming from the movie, from Carrie’s performance, and from these unreleased scenes, while he also gave the impression that there’s quite a bit of unused footage to work with. This is quite interesting, as it leads us to wonder just what these scenes are. I’ve put together some speculation as to what they might be, but to be completely honest nothing that I mentioned there would be a huge surprise (though some would be more surprising than others). So maybe there’s much more to this footage than we initially thought, and that would be terrific news for Episode IX. Perhaps J.J. Abrams will actually have quite a bit to work with and some flexibility storywise, which would mean a higher likelihood of giving Leia a satisfying presence in the saga’s conclusion.
The more we hear about Lucasfilm’s plan for utilizing footage of Carrie Fisher in Episode IX, the more encouraging it is. I definitely think it’s the best possible solution, and I’m super interested to see how Abrams and his team are able to incorporate Fisher’s legendary character into the film.