On Thursday, many people poured out tributes to the legendary Carrie Fisher, on the two-year anniversary of her death. But despite her death, her brother Todd Fisher recently told ABC News that, “There’s a lot more to come from Carrie.”
He said that there are more of her writings and artifacts that will one day be shared with the public, but the most significant work yet to come from Carrie Fisher is Star Wars: Episode IX. Fisher portrayed the iconic Leia Organa in five Star Wars films, and she will appear in a sixth – Episode IX – using previously unused footage that was shot for The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Many have assumed that the situation indicated a smaller role with scenes inserted in to the movie, but Todd assured ABC’s Clayton Sandell that isn’t the case:
“There’s a lot of minutes of footage. I don’t mean just outtakes,” Todd Fisher said. “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,” he added. “But we’re thrilled at what’s been done.”
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard that Carrie Fisher’s family is thrilled about what J.J. Abrams and others at Lucasfilm are doing with the character, but it hasn’t stopped being encouraging regarding Episode IX. I’ve been thinking for a while now that Leia’s role in the film could surprise some people (in any number of ways), and two things are particularly interesting about what Todd Fisher said.
First of all, he said that there’s a lot of footage that isn’t just comprised of outtakes; in other words, he’s saying that Abrams and company actually have a significant amount of footage that won’t have to just be spliced together tidbits or outtakes here or there. This means that there actually seems to be (at least in Todd’s estimation) quite a bit of footage to use. Which, of course, would mean that Leia’s role needn’t necessarily be as minor or as small as many people seem to assume it will be. This isn’t to say that she’ll share for the most screentime (she won’t), but I also don’t think that Leia will be treated as a minor character in this film. Her presence will surely be massive, and her screentime might actually be significant – at least relative to expectations.
Secondly, he said that this footage fits in like it was shot yesterday. This is particularly interesting to me, because probably the biggest concern that people have had about Carrie Fisher’s appearance in Episode IX is about how they could possibly make it work. I have always assumed that if J.J. Abrams (who knows everything they have shot and have at their disposal) thinks it can work then I won’t doubt him (since I don’t know what was shot), but it’s nice to hear Todd Fisher say that it fits. This suggests to me that they have certain story beats that totally work with what footage they have from Carrie Fisher, and that they have found a way to seamlessly incorporate some of that footage into the film. He says it fits just as well as if they’d have shot it recently.
So that begs the question of how that could work. I have already written about everything we could even reasonably speculate about regarding unused footage, so I won’t re-hash all of it here (check out that article if you’re curious). But I do want to bring attention to one possibility that came to mind especially considering a recent tweet from Slashfilm’s Peter Sciretta, in which he teased to fans that if they want hints about Episode IX they should consult “The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens” book. I’ll speculate more on this in the coming days, and it seems Sciretta may not have intended for this to become as big as it did (but if that’s the case then why tweet it?), but I’ll just say this. We know from Rian Johnson’s comments that there’s not a whole lot of unused footage of Carrie Fisher from The Last Jedi, meaning that if there’s a substantial plotline or screen time it will likely come from The Force Awakens. And Todd Fisher mentioned that it’s not outtakes but stuff shot for the film that fits in perfectly with Episode IX. In “The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens” we see concept art and discussion about something that was reported prior to the film’s release but never made it into the final cut: Leia’s sledgehammer. This was going to be a superweapon that Leia Organa and the Resistance controlled, and it was going to crush Star Destroyers. We don’t know whether these scenes were ever actually filmed, but there’s reason to believe they might very well have been. So, while I’m not necessarily sure whether the sledgehammer will actually show up in Episode IX or not, I think Todd Fisher’s comments plus the recent tweet by Peter Sciretta at least make speculating about it responsible and reasonable.
But speculation aside, the main takeaways should be this: Todd Fisher is thrilled with what J.J. Abrams and company are doing with Leia, and he says that there’s plenty of footage to use that fits in incredibly well with the plot and flow of the film. That’s tremendous news, and I can’t wait to see it in less than a year!