Fans can rest assured that Disney has made a decision involving Fisher’s character, General Leia Organa, in the final installment to the Skywalker saga, set for next year. They released a statement on Friday stating that they will use “previously unreleased footage,” presumably from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and maybe Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
If you remember back to 2017, Lucasfilm released this statement:
“We don’t normally respond to fan or press speculation, but there is a rumor circulating that we would like to address. We want to assure our fans that Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher‘s performance as Princess or General Leia Organa. Carrie Fisher was, is, and always will be a part of the Lucasfilm family. She was our princess, our general, and more importantly, our friend. We are still hurting from her loss. We cherish her memory and legacy as Princess Leia, and will always strive to honor everything she gave to ‘Star Wars.’”
At least we had that statement before the official casting announcement was released, so we knew that no CGI was going to be involved. It was long speculated that Keri Russell would step in for the late Fisher. J.J. Abrams had this to say:
“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 [Lourd], we have found a way to honor Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in ‘Episode VII.’”
We can all take a deep breath knowing what will happen now. Lucasfilm also released the full cast list, which included Mark Hamill; leaving no speculation on whether Luke would be involved with the story somehow. In yet another surprise, Billy Dee Williams will reprise his iconic role of Lando Calrissian. Release is scheduled for December 2019.