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After Carrie Fisher's heartbreaking passing, there was an open question of how exactly General Leia and her story would be handled in Star Wars: Episode IX. We learned that the more obvious, but controversial routes of recasting or using CGI were off the table, and J.J. Abrams would instead be taking advantage of unused footage of the actress. Now Carrie Fisher's brother, Todd Fisher has spoken about the unused footage and how it will work, saying:
There's a lot of minutes of footage. I don't mean just outtakes. This is unused, new content that could be woven into the storyline. That's what's going to give everybody such a great kick. It's going to look like it was meant to be. Like it was shot yesterday.
Todd Fisher seems clued in at least to some degree to what exactly Disney and Lucasfilm have footage-wise of Carrie Fisher, and what he says here is encouraging. I'm not sure what constitutes "a lot of minutes of footage" but the way he says it, it makes it sound like they have enough to do what they need to do.
Although we initially heard that unused footage from Star Wars: The Force Awakens would be used, it was later revealed to include stuff from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which J.J. Abrams could pull from when crafting her role.
Even more encouraging than just the quantity of footage they have to work with is what kind of footage it is. As Todd Fisher tells ABC News, this isn't just a case of outtakes that will need to be shoehorned in to fit the story. The filmmakers apparently have unused content, presumably from scrapped scenes, that can be used and fit naturally into the storyline of Episode IX.
It is a natural concern that relying solely on unused footage from the previous two films, would create some major headaches for the filmmakers and perhaps negatively impact the film, but based on Todd Fisher's remarks the footage looks like it was shot yesterday and will fit seamlessly into Episode IX.
What that sendoff will be is anyone's guess. The film may pick up events a year after The Last Jedi. It's hard to imagine that Princess Leia will have much of a role in Episode IX beyond the first act, but we'll have to see.
Once this movie comes out it will be a very interesting exercise to look at how well this unused footage fit with the rest of the film and where it might have fit in the previous two films. I will also be curious to speculate about how much the rest of the story was dictated by what was available for the Leia character.
Star Wars: Episode IX blasts into theaters on December 20, 2019. For all of next year's biggest movies, check out our 2019 Release Schedule.