The Rise of Skywalker is bound to be an emotional movie for Star Wars fans based purely on the fact that it is wrapping up the entire Skywalker saga, something fans have grown to love over four decades. But this film will carry an additional emotional punch: the late Carrie Fisher will be once more starring as General Leia Organa.
Fisher passed away well before The Rise of Skywalker could film (and before J.J. Abrams even took over as director), but Abrams and his team at Lucasfilm figured out how to bring her back through unused footage that was shot for The Force Awakens. Leia lives on, and in the first trailer for the film we got a glimpse of her giving Rey a hug.
Abrams and co-writer Chris Terrio wrote scenes around what footage they already had of Fisher, and their work has allowed some of the main characters to interact with Leia on-screen. But one character they intentionally avoided putting with Leia on-screen was Billie Lourd’s Lieutenant Kaydel Ko Connix. Lourd is Fisher’s daughter, and Abrams figured that it would be too difficult for her to have scenes with her late mother. “I purposely had written her character in scenes without Carrie, because I just didn’t want it to be uncomfortable for her,” Abrams told Vanity Fair recently. But Lourd actually requested to be with Fisher on-screen, telling Abrams, “I want to be in scenes with her. I want it for my children when I have kids. I want them to see.”
And so, in The Rise of Skywalker, mother and daughter will be reunited once more, as General Leia Organa and Lieutenant Kaydel Ko Konnix will share scenes that Abrams says includes them not only talking but touching as well. This process, as you might imagine, was incredibly emotional for Lourd, and Abrams said that, “She would get emotional and sort of have to excuse herself for a minute. I know it was hard for her for a while.”
I can’t imagine how hard that must have been for Lourd to film, but the end result will surely be beautiful. It will be a living testament to the legacy of Carrie Fisher, reunited once more with her daughter on-screen while playing the iconic role she loved and defined. It’s a beautiful representation of what these Star Wars films have become, as they will outlive the actors who starred in them and, as such, will allow the actors to live on even after they have passed away.
Every moment with Leia in The Rise of Skwyalker will surely be emotional, but perhaps none more so than when she shares time with Billie Lourd.