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The loss of Carrie Fisher this past December rocked the world of entertainment, and is still being felt these many months later. The legendary actress/comedian/writer touched the lives of entire generations, and her unfortunate passing has also had grave effects on the Star Wars franchise. General Leia was reportedly set to be a major role in Colin Trevorrow's untitled Star Wars: Episode IX, and now the film must be changed in order to work around Fisher's death. The Jurassic World and Book of Henry director recently addressed how this would be done, and how the final film in the new trilogy would honor the late actress.
She had a major role in the film and it's something we had to deal with emotionally at first. Now we've had to deal with it in very practical ways and in a form of storytelling we know is going to honor her and keep her soul alive, but it is an unfortunate reality that we're just going to have to handle.
Well, this certainly sounds hopeful. While Carrie Fisher's presence in Episode IX will be sorely missed, it's comforting to know that she (and by extension, Leia) will be felt in the film.
When the new trilogy of Star Wars movies was announced, the fans were eager to see the original trio of characters reprise their roles. And after J.J. Abrams' The Force Awakens, it became clear that each of the OG characters would be the main focus of one film. The Force Awakens was very much about Han Solo's final journey, and The Last Jedi appears to be largely a Luke Skywalker journey. So logically Episode IX was going to be Leia-centric film, until Carrie Fisher unfortunately passed away in December.
It should be interesting to see how Episode IX addresses General Leia's lack of screentime. Aside from Leia's personal relationships with Luke, Kylo, and Poe, she's also leading The Resistance. So the film will likely have to add some mcguffin to explain her absence. And as morbid as it sounds, I can't imagine any other reason other than killing the character off. With her family tied into the narrative of the films, there is simply no other reason why Leia would leave the cause behind.
But we'll have quite some time to wait until any of these answers are clear. Star Wars: The Last Jedi will first need to arrive in theaters, which will be Carrie Fisher's final appearance in the franchise. That film hit theaters on December 15th, in the meantime check out our 2017 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.