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It's hard to imagine, but it's already been a few years since the legendary Carrie Fisher passed away. Fisher died in December of 2016, shortly after wrapping her role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Her generations of fans haven't stopped mourning the late actress/writer, and the Star Wars community has been especially supportive of her daughter Billie Lourd. Lourd is an actress herself, playing Lt. Connix in the sequel trilogy. And she recently opened up about how excited her mother was about The Rise of Skywalker before her death.
The original trio of Star Wars actors returned for the sequel trilogy: Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and Mark Hamill. Each of these actors got their own movie to star in, starting with Ford in The Force Awakens, followed by Hamill in The Last Jedi. As such, The Rise of Skywalker was originally supposed to be very Leia-centric, although her tragic death changed things. But Fisher was excited about Episode IX before her death. As Billie Lourd put it:
We wrapped The Last Jedi a little less than six months before she died. I went back to L.A. to film the show I was on, and she stayed in London to film the show she was on. One of the last times we spoke on the phone, she talked about how excited she was that the next movie in the trilogy was going to be Leia’s movie. Her movie.
Doesn't that just break your heart? Carrie Fisher's name is synonymous with her role as Leia in Star Wars, and she's gave a lot to the fans over the years. She deserved to be excited for a bigger role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It's just a shame that we'll never see what that might have been.
While Carrie Fisher is a public persona, Billie Lourd knew the real woman behind the hair buns. She wasn't Leia, Fisher was simply her mother. And while the fans are still morning her untimely death, it's obviously been far more harrowing for her loved ones.
Billie Lourd recently wrote a beautiful tribute to her mother for Time.
My mom died on Dec. 27, 2016. Two days after Christmas, four days before New Year’s and about a year before she was supposed to appear in her final Star Wars film. Losing my mom is the hardest thing I’ve ever been through. I lost my best friend. My little lady in the TV. My Momby. And I inherited this weird, intimidating thing called her legacy. Suddenly I was in charge of what would come of her books, her movies and a bunch of other overwhelming things. I was now the keeper of Leia.
Well, that's certainly a powerful sentiment. Billie Lourd understands just how much her mother, and General Leia, mean to the generations of rabid Star Wars fans out there. And since Carrie Fisher passed away at the young age of 60 years old, it's up to her daughter to carry on the legacy of the beloved heroine. Especially since she also lost her grandmother Debbie Reynolds at the same time.
Later in her article, Billie Lourd opened about her mother's role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and how touched she was that Leia's story would have a proper ending. She wrote,
About a year later, J.J. called me into his office to talk about the plans for Leia. We both agreed she was too important to be written off in the classic Star Wars introductory scroll. This last movie was supposed to be Leia’s movie, and we wanted it to remain that, as much as possible. What I hadn’t known–and what J.J. told me that day –was that there was footage of my mom that they had collected over the years that hadn’t made it into the movies, footage that J.J. told me would be enough to write an entire movie around. It was like she had left us a gift that would allow Leia’s story to be completed. I was speechless.
Well, this is certainly going to get the fandom excited. It looks like Carrie Fisher's General Leia will have a fitting ending in The Rise of Skywalker. The character will be included in Episode IX through unused footage from the previous movies. What her story will entail is a mystery, but Billie Lourd is personally thrilled. Andcoming from the new keeper of Leia, that's saying something.