Although Carrie Fisher passed away in 2016, J.J. Abrams and his team on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ensured that Leia Organa would be present in the final Skywalker Saga movie thanks to unused footage of the actress from The Force Awakens. Now you can see the process of how Fisher was digitally inserted into The Rise of Skywalker in the below VFX reel.
As you can see, Carrie Fisher’s movements in The Rise of Skywalker were pulled from alternate Force Awakens takes, and her clothing and hairstyle were changed digitally so there’d be some difference between her look at the start of the Sequel Trilogy and at the end of it. But that aside, Fisher’s performance remained the same, it’s just that the circumstances in which she deliver her dialogue were altered.
But it wasn’t just the ‘present day’ Leia we saw in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. We also saw a flashback of her training with her brother Luke not long after the events of Return of the Jedi. Footage of Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill from that movie, as well as The Empire Strikes Back, were used to digitally recreate the younger versions of Luke and Leia. We also already knew that Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd (who’s appeared in the Sequel Trilogy as Lieutenant Connix), stood in for her mother during that sequence.
When Carrie Fisher was still alive, the plan was for Leia Organa to have a bigger role in Star Wars: Episode IX, akin to how Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill shined in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, respectively. Sadly, that never happened, but thanks to the wonders of modern movie magic, we got to see Fisher one last time, with Leia still leading The Resistance when The Rise of Skywalker began.
Warning: SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker are ahead!
Ultimately though, Leia Organa died in the movie after she used her remaining strength to reach out to her son, Kylo Ren, as he was dueling Rey on Kef Bir. However, the spirit of both Leia and Luke appeared at the very end of The Rise of Skywalker when Rey was on Tatooine burying their lightsabers on the Lars homestead and honoring their legacy by adopting the Skywalker name.
These Carrie Fisher scenes are just some of the moments highlighted in this VFX reel posted by ILMVFX. Other highlights include characters like Babu Frik and Maz Kanata being operated, the chase scene on Pasaana, the Millennium Falcon flying through those ice tunnels, the thousands of Star Destroyers on Exegol and much more.
While Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was met with polarizing reaction from critics and fans alike, it’s still done well for itself financially, making over $1.5 billion worldwide. Episode IX has also been nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing and Best Visual Effects. We’ll find out if it takes home any trophies when the Oscars ceremony airs this Sunday.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is wrapping up its time in theaters, but keep checking back with CinemaBlend for news on when it’ll be released on home media. For now, check out our 2020 release schedules to figure out what you want to see on the big screen this year.