How Star Wars: The Last Jedi Brought Back The Princess Leia Hologram

Luke watching the hologram in A New Hope

It's been two months since Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrived in theaters, with hardcore fans and cinephiles alike continuing to dissect and discuss every frame from Rian Johnson's somewhat divisive new sequel. Part of the reason for this continued discussion is due to Johnson's ability to subvert fan expectations, and take beloved characters to unexpected new places. The Last Jedi also made plenty of references to the original trilogy, including Leia's famous message to Obi-Wan Kenobi for help from A New Hope. Now we know how they made it happen, courtesy of sound editor Matthew Wood. Specifically, how they attempted to "age" the audio, given the decades that have passed within the timeline of the franchise.

Then, rather than doing a digital process on it, we recorded it to an analog piece of tape --- people might not know what that is anymore --- but we recorded it on that piece of tape a bunch of times then dragged it through the dirt at Skywalker Ranch. We crumpled it, crushed it, threw it in a lake, rubbed rocks on it, distressed it and tied it to a car and drove it around.

While Leia's original hologram may have only appeared on screen for a few brief moments during The Last Jedi, it turns out that a ton of work went into that very specific callback from A New Hope. While some of the specifics may have gone over fans' heads, you can't deny that audiences were thrilled to see young Leia surprisingly pop back up in the newest sequel. In his conversation with THR, Matthew Wood revealed how the editing process of the hologram eventually paid off, allowing the audio to sound a century old.

One of the biggest criticisms surrounding Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the changes made to Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker. While Luke was originally the source of hope for the galaxy, Rian Johnson crafted a new version of the character who was jaded and no longer believed in the good of The Force. It's seeing Leia's hologram that finally convinces Luke to return to the Resistance, helping the remaining members escape Crait in one piece. This callback to the original film was no doubt aimed to help both Luke and the audience come to terms with the character's changes, although there are many haters out there who still weren't convinced.

The inclusion of the Leia hologram in The Last Jedi also feels like another way that the sequel helps to honor the late Carrie Fisher. Episode IX was supposed to be very much focused on Leia, although her untimely death caused the folks at Disney and Lucasfilm to rethink things. It's currently unclear how Leia will be written off, so we'll have to keep our ears close to the ground.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi will gets a digital release on March 13, followed by a Blu-ray and DVD release on March 27. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.