In an interview with Cinema Blend about his upcoming film, The Book of Henry, Star Wars: Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow addressed how IX will handle Leia after Carrie Fisher’s passing.
Following Leia actress Carrie Fisher’s passing in December 2016, Lucasfilm completely revamped their plans for Star Wars: Episode IX. Perhaps no one is faced with a greater challenge during this process than Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow. As the director and writer of the sequel trilogy’s third and final installment, Trevorrow must somehow deal with Fisher’s death in a way that is respectful to both the late actress and her beloved Star Wars character.
Fisher passed away before production on IX even began. Unlike The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, then, who filmed all of Fisher’s scenes in Episode VIII before her passing, Trevorrow has no resources, no extra footage to work with. (He never even had the opportunity to meet Fisher.) Furthermore, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy recently assured the public that Fisher will not appear in any capacity in IX, not even through a CG double. Now, Trevorrow’s film is in the uncomfortable position of addressing Leia’s absence in a way which doesn’t feel like a copout.
LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 29: Director Colin Trevorrow at the CinemaCon 2017 Focus Features Red Carpet at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace on March 29, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Scott Kirkland/PictureGroup)
In an interview with Cinema Blend, Trevorrow acknowledged the difficulties before him:
"She was a major character, that’s not a secret. She really was. And it was extremely sad for all of us, mostly just because she was so loved by the Star Wars family and everyone that worked with her. I feel like our options are limited mostly by ourselves, in that there is only certain things that we are willing to do. But I can guarantee it will be handled with love and respect, and all of the soul that Carrie Fisher deserves."
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I find it interesting that Lucasfilm is, as Trevorrow noted, only limited by themselves: “there is only certain things that we are willing to do,” he says. I wonder if creating a CG double for Fisher, as Industrial Light & Magic did for her younger version in Rogue One, isn’t one of those things. I understand their hesitation. The decision to simply recreate or recast General Leia could seem cold, a calculated move to keep the original Episode IX script on its feet instead of honor Fisher. On the other hand, Leia deserves a proper on-screen send-off. She should not be whisked away or killed behind the scenes.
Fortunately, Trevorrow feels keenly the import of treating Leia with the proper respect. That’s why I’m encouraged by what he says about there being certain things he is not willing to do with the character in his film. In the end, he promises, Leia’s fate will be handled “with love and respect, and all of the soul that Carrie Fisher deserves.” That’s all I, as a fan, can ask for.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi premieres on December 18, 2017. Star Wars: Episode IX is scheduled to premiere on May 24, 2019.
H/T: Club Jade