How Star Wars: The Last Jedi Shot Leia In Space

floating leia

I think it goes without saying at this point, but just in case, there are going to be some spoilers in this story.

There are a lot of memorable moments in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, including new creatures, space scenes and even planets. One scene that has stood out in Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a scene involving an attack on the Resistance, an scene in which a well-placed explosion pulls Carrie Fisher into space. As it turns out, that scene was shot both practically and digitally to show General Leia being thrown off of the ship and flung into space, only to use the Force to re-board. According to Ben Morris, who was a VFX Supervisor on Star Wars: The Last Jedi,

We worked with Carrie [Fisher] to at least get her to be blown forward in a believable way before she gets sucked out. Then, when she's outside, it was a combination of digital double Carrie for the wider shots, and then we actually shot her, so we could do the moment where she comes to and the ice starts thawing off her face. We shot that with her. We didn't hang her on wires. It's incredibly uncomfortable on wires, so we were able to support her in other ways. It's a combination of real Carrie and digital doubles when the moves were wide enough, and it made most sense to do it that way.

The Carrie Fisher in space scene is one of the most notable scenes in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Some people have cited it as an example of Leia finally showing her ability to use the Force and doing it in a way that saved her life. Others found the scene to be jarring in the context it was presented. Like a lot of things in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, it has been a scene that has been very much debated, but per what Morris told Deadline, the combination of digital and practical effects is what made the scene work.

Ben Morris did address the space scene further, noting that some of the practical effects in the scene included building a "practical bridge for the main cruiser." The scene also incorporated practical special effects, like pyrotechnics. However, if you were interested in what director Rian Johnson was going for when he shot that scene, and why the team didn't want to go fully digital. He also said:

Rian always wanted it to be a very moving moment. It was a very sensitive moment for everybody, in particular because we lost Carrie before the film came out, so we wanted to get it exactly right--and the imagery that you see there is Carrie. It's not like we did on Rogue One, going for an entirely digital Carrie.

Rian Johnson has previously said he put the scene into the movie because it was a topic that Kathleen Kennedy was really interested in and that had come up among fans in the past. The Force has always been with Leia and he wanted to explore it physically manifesting with her. The end result was space Leia, and he has called that moment "emotionally satisfying" previously.

After coming out back in December, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is still kicking around in certain theaters. However, if you are waiting to own your own copy, the Digital release will be out on March 13, with the Blu-ray and DVD copies following on March 27. You can get all the details here.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.