Filming on Star Wars: Episode IX is well underway, and there are plenty of questions that are being asked about the conclusion to the sequel trilogy and to the Skywalker saga. But perhaps one of the most common questions is what J.J. Abrams and co. will do with Leia Organa.
One of the most iconic characters not just in Star Wars history but in film history as well, Episode IX was set to be Leia’s film, the opportunity for her to take center-stage amongst the old guard, with Harrison Ford’s Han Solo (The Force Awakens) and Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker (The Last Jedi) starring in the previous two installments. Carrie Fisher’s Leia was undoubtedly a massive part of those films, too, and she had at least one iconic moment in TLJ, but entering the final chapter Leia is the only one of that trio still alive. Tragically, however, Carrie Fisher died in December 2016.
Lucasfilm announced that Carrie Fisher will indeed appear in Episode IX, though, using unreleased footage that was shot for The Force Awakens, and likely from The Last Jedi too. But that obviously limits things, so fans are very curious as to how Abrams will deal with the General.
Oscar Isaac, whose character in the sequel trilogy has the closest relationship to Leia of any of the new characters, admitted to The Daily Beast that it’s painful not having Carrie around in filming, but said that the movie will honor Leia and that, “The story deals with that quite a bit.” Isaac also said that, “It deals with the amazing character that Carrie created in a really beautiful way.”
I am very curious as to what J.J. Abrams will do with the character, though I think that there are some assumptions being made that don’t necessarily have to be true. For example, the film doesn’t have to kill Leia, nor does the film have to have Leia in only a minor role. People assume (understandably) that through using unreleased footage Abrams will only be able to cultivate something that amounts to not much more than a cameo appearance, but I have a feeling that Leia’s presence will loom very large in the film. Whether that means a significant amount of screentime, whether that means some ILM magic in changing the context of a scene, or whether that simply means that Leia’s presence is felt even when not on-screen, I think we’ll see a fair and fitting tribute and send-off to our beloved Princess-turned-General.
Carrie Fisher’s family seems to like what Abrams is doing with the character, and Oscar Isaac does as well. One thing is pretty much a given, though: no matter how much Leia Organa shows up on-screen in Episode IX, those scenes will be quite emotional for Star Wars fans in the audience, as we get to see Carrie Fisher in Star Wars one last time.