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Today is a terribly depressing day for movie fans around the world. To close out a year of terrible losses in the entertainment industry, the legendary Carrie Fisher passed away after suffering a heart attack last week. We will definitely be spending time mourning the loss and remembering her for her amazing contributions to cinema -- but we will also hold on to the fact that she will be back on the big screen this time next year playing General Leia Organa in Rian Johnson's Star Wars: Episode VIII.
While the untimely death of an actor has affected film productions in the past, the passing of Carrie Fisher seemingly won't affect the next Star Wars movie, primarily because principal photography came to an end months ago. The blockbuster started shooting in early February of 2016, and wrapped in July, with the official Twitter account for the franchise documenting the news:
This certainly suggests that director Rian Johnson got all of the footage he needed in the first half of the year, and as such Star Wars: Episode VIII shouldn't be affected by Carrie Fisher's passing. That being said, it should be noted that there is also a probability that this isn't the case, as blockbusters do need reshoots and pick-up shots all the time. There may be a point in post-production when Johnson discovers that he needs something extra from General Organa, and they will have to come up with some kind of work around. Obviously we're hoping that doesn't wind up being the case.
Because everything Star Wars related is played incredibly close to the vest (basically inside the vest), we don't know much of anything about the size of Carrie Fisher's part in Episode VIII -- but we do know that The Force Awakens positioned her as a very important character in the future of the sci-fi saga. As we wrote about at length yesterday, General Organa a.k.a. Princess Leia is simultaneously the leader of the fight against the First Order; the mother of the primary antagonist, Kylo Ren; the widow of a fallen hero (Han Solo); and the Force-attuned sister of the fabled Luke Skywalker. She's basically at the center of everything in the Star Wars universe right now -- and as such there will be a lot of extra curiosity now regarding how Star Wars: Episode VIII passes the baton to Colin Trevorrow's Star Wars: Episode IX.
We track the Star Wars saga very closely here on Cinema Blend, and obviously will continue to follow this story as it develops -- as we really don't know right now how Carrie Fisher's incredibly sad death will affect the future of the franchise. Stay tuned.