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Fans across the world are still dealing with the tragic and sudden loss of Carrie Fisher in the final week of 2016, but as far as the Star Wars franchise goes, there have been discussions happening behind the scenes about how to proceed with Leia Organa in the new movies. One option that had been rumored was to use a CGI version of Leia, but Lucasfilm assured fans today that won't happen. Here's their full statement below.
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.
Last week, it was reported that Disney and Lucasfilm were planning meetings with Star Wars: Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow and other involved parties on how to discuss options on what to do with Leia Organa. Then yesterday, it was rumored that negotiations were in place to secure Carrie Fisher's likeness so that Leia could be digitally recreated for future movies, in a similar way as how Peter Cushing's likeness was used for Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One. Not wanting people to get the wrong idea, Lucasfilm decided to set the record straight on StarWars.com by stating that there are no such plans in motion.
Given the controversy that's surrounded the use of Tarkin in Rogue One, not to mention that the effect itself looked a little too artificial, it's for the best that Lucasfilm has decided not to replicate the process for Leia Organa for future saga entries (though a 1970s-era Fisher was created for Rogue One's ending to show Leia shortly before A New Hope). Such a decision surely would have angered many fans, primarily because it was happening so soon after Carrie Fisher's passing. It's good to finally have an official word on the matter, as well as reaffirmation of how important the actress was to the Star Wars franchise.
Before her death, Carrie Fisher had already completed shooting on Star Wars: Episode VIII, but it's still unclear whether there will be any alterations to her presence in the story. As for Episode IX, Leia reportedly had some major moments, including a reunion with Luke Skywalker, her brother, as well as a face off with Kylo Ren, her corrupted son. Since digital recreation is off the table, that means there will need to be script adjustments so Leia can be written out, but we'll have to wait and see how this is accomplished.
You can see Carrie Fisher contribute to the Star Wars saga one last time when Episode VIII is released in theaters on December 15.