If you have kept up with the Star Wars franchise, then you likely know that it experienced a massive tragedy when Carrie Fisher passed away last December. The actress responsible for bringing Leia Organa to life was gearing up to take on an integral role in the future of the property, and with The Last Jedi now being her final appearance, Episode IX's story have even retooled to try and cope with her passing. Fisher's death was an event felt by many people around the world, and costar Mark Hamill recently opened up and explained that it left a despondent cloud over the series, saying:
It is different. She was irreplaceable. There can never be a proper reunion anymore. It's tragic. I hate that it adds an air of melancholy to the film because it doesn't deserve it. I know for a fact she would obviously want us to be having fun. She was all about laughter and enjoying the moment.
Mark Hamill's comments about Carrie Fisher's tragic passing pretty much echo what many of us felt when the iconic actress died in December. That said, it doesn't make it any less heart-wrenching. Fisher was fundamental to the Star Wars films as Princess (and then General) Leia, and her visage has even appeared in the franchise more times than Mark Hamill or Harrison Ford (through some handy CGI work in Rogue One). Her costar seems to recognize that she would want them to continue with the franchise, but her death leaves a permanent shadow over the series that's likely never going to go away.
Mark Hamill's comments to Vancouver Sun about the future of the Star Wars franchise become even more of a gut-punch because he's the only member of the Original Trilogy trio left in the franchise. In addition to Carrie Fisher's passing last winter, Harrison Ford also notably departed the franchise when Kylo Ren killed Han Solo towards the end of The Force Awakens. With one actor tragically gone and one character tragically gone, there's no way to get Han, Luke and Leia back on screen together following their grand celebration on Endor at the end of Return of the Jedi.
Looking to the future, it sounds like the folks behind the Star Wars series have figured out what to do with the fact that Leia will no longer be around. Speaking out about his work on The Last Jedi, John Boyega even admitted that the Episode VIII "sends her off" in a way that will honor her place in the franchise's history. If that's true, then the series may have a chance to solidify her legacy and move on respectfully and satisfyingly.
We will just have to wait and see how the Star Wars franchise continues to evolve with the unexpected passing of this Hollywood icon. Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi will make its theatrical debut later this year on December 15.