The untimely death of Carrie Fisher has left a void in the Star Wars universe that isn't easily mended. While the actor had completed work on Rian Johnson's upcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII, her role in the franchise had been upgraded to a major player in the storyline at hand. So the subject of how Fisher's role in the future of the franchise has been a subject of much discussion, with Lucasfilm coming out with an official statement, stating that they currently have "no plans" to recreate General Leia Organa with any CGI assistance.
However, that's not to say that the issue is open and shut, as the company has not said that they had put the kibosh on using any sort of CGI procedures in the future. So obviously, the subject is, for the most part, still in play. It's something that does need a lot of thought before landing completely on one side or the other, and it's because of several important factors that come into play when evaluating Leia's current role in the Star Wars series.
But, at least in my opinion, it all leads back to one, definitive decision that should be made on the matter: with the permission of Carrie Fisher's estate, the character should be used to complete the story of Episode IX, and for the following reasons.
Her Character Is Too Important To Simply Write Out
As we previously discussed, the character of General Leia Organa has been expanded in her scope in the story of the current Star Wars trilogy. Nowhere was that more clearly stated than the two key scenes that were described from Episodes VIII and IX's storylines. With a big reunion with her brother, Luke, as well as a confrontation with her son, Ben Solo / Kylo Ren, these are obviously huge moments that need to be fulfilled in the course of the story ahead.
Now these moments could be given to someone else, or written around in some other way. But to be completely honest, Leia's too important to simply write out in an off screen capacity. She should be given the chance to close out her story on screen, and with the moments that were written for her character, as simply handing those moments off to someone else would be a waste.
Recasting Would Be Impossible
In the past, actors who've passed away before a series' conclusion have been recast with other actors in their roles. In the best cases, these recastings merely stick out, and in the worst cases, they're incredible distractions. Recasting a new actor in Carrie Fisher's iconic role would probably be the most distracting case of bringing someone new into a role that needs to be filled. This is NOT the way to go.
While using a CGI replacement would have its own set of challenges, particularly matching Fisher's voice and general presence, it'd be easier than trying to find someone who could fill the shoes of her entire being. The technical route would be a safer method to continue the legacy of General Leia, while at the same time honoring her role in the Star Wars canon, without having to try to do anything as impossible as recasting.
The Technology Has Been Tested
Thanks to the work done in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the technology to use Carrie Fisher's appearance in Star Wars: Episode IX is already a good way towards being in a more perfected state by the time the film starts rolling on its production. Thanks to the stellar work done to bring back Peter Cushing's Grand Moff Tarkin, General Leia Organa could fulfill the rest of her intended story, as a tribute to the character and the actor who brought her to shining life.
Of course, to make such an effort possible, the folks in charge of Star Wars: Episode IX would have to speak with whomever is in charge of Carrie Fisher's estate before moving forward in any way, shape, or form. And ILM would have to improve on this groundbreaking technology. The tools to make all of this happen exist, but they will have to be refined and honed in ways that make the end result superior to the work that's already been done.
CGI Would Only Be Used To Close Out Her Character In Episode IX
There is one, extremely important caveat that should be added to all of the talk surrounding using a CGI double for Carrie Fisher's General Leia. Most specifically, the process would only be used to finish off the storyline planned through Star Wars: Episode IX, and not for any future episodes, should the series go beyond Colin Trevorrow's trilogy capping entry. If there's one thing that should be made clear about the possibility of a CGI Leia appearing down the line, it's that for the purposes of this argument, it's merely to finish the story already plotted.
Proposing a computer generated stand in to complete the work Carrie Fisher began with this new Star Wars trilogy is all about giving General Leia Organa the full honors she deserves. The pivotal moments she's supposed to be experiencing down the pike are too important to her character to just re-write them into someone else's story. Ultimately, it's not that I'm proposing Leia show up in every future Star Wars movie, but rather I'd like to see her get the due she's deserved all of these years. Ms. Fisher's piece of that galaxy far, far away is too precious to simply write out like any other character. She deserves a strong, proper send off.