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After decades of storytelling, the Skywalker Saga has finally ended. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker wrapped up the main franchise as we know it, with J.J. Abrams tasked with sticking the landing. Abrams had to find the right conclusion for the characters he created, as well as favorites like Luke and Leia. The latter was a particular challenge to the process, as Carrie Fisher died back in 2016. And now it looks like Fisher's family was even more supportive of her role in the movie than we realized.
Carrie Fisher was brought back to complete Leia's journey on the screen through unused footage from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This allowed her to share scenes with Rey and The Resistance, and Leia's scenes were some of the most heartwarming in The Rise of Skywalker. And it turns out that the late actress' family would have also supported her role being entirely CGI, similar to Leia's brief appearance in Rogue One.
This latest update comes to us from TMZ, which spoke with Carrie Fisher's brother Todd after the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Todd Fisher has been vocal about his late sister's legacy, and how much the Star Wars franchise means to the family as a whole. He seemed to have total faith in Lucasfilm and J.J. Abrams, even if that would have meant that Leia was entirely CGI in Episode IX.
In his same conversation with the outlet, Todd Fisher also revealed that he doesn't think Carrie Fisher would have minded being a CGI character in The Rise of Skywalker. The important thing was that Leia's story was told, and that the late actress/writer was properly featured in the franchise that she's synonymous with. Especially since she was looking forward to filming the movie before her sudden death.
Each installment in Star Wars' sequel trilogy focused on one of the original heroes. The Force Awakens put Han in an adventure with the new cast, while The Last Jedi dove into Luke's psyche and isolation on Ach-To. The Rise of Skywalker was originally going to have more focus on Leia, and Billie Lourd revealed that Carrie Fisher was excited for "her movie." But when she suddenly passed away, new plans were made to honor both Carrie and Leia.
Spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
In the end, Leia did have a fitting ending, and her story was expanded through surprise plot twists and flashbacks. The movie opened with her training Rey, taking over as her Master in the ways of the Jedi. She also got to have some funny lines thanks to a Force Awakens deleted scene. It turns out that Leia was more adept with The Force than we realized, having gone through her own training with Luke back in the day. She ultimately dies to help free Kylo Ren from the Dark Side, and is seen as a Force Ghost in the movie's final moments.
I have to wonder what the original plans for Leia were, and how they changed as The Rise of Skywalker went through its development process. We'll no doubt get more updates as time goes by.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters now. Be sure to check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.
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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.