Now, THR has revealed that Disney is trying to figure things out for the future of the franchise. According to their sources, Episode IX director, Colin Trevorrow, will be in L.A. in January 10 to meet with Lucasfilm president, Kathleen Kennedy, to decide how to continue the saga without #CarrieFisher as the bridge between the old and new.
The report also revealed General Leia Organa was supposed to have an even bigger role in Episode IX than VIII and she had two key scenes in both episodes:
- Leia reuniting with her long-lost brother, Luke Skywalker.
- A confrontation with her son, Ben Solo, a.k.a. Kylo Ren.
What's interesting is that one of these is from Episode IX. Seeing the course of events of #TheForceAwakens, it's reasonable to assume the meeting between her and Luke is from VIII. And this picture of Carrie Fisher and #MarkHamill on the set of the film in costume seems to confirm it:
Furthermore, Leia finally confronting her son after killing Han Solo fits with the character having a larger role in the sequel, as that's a heavy arc. Taking that into consideration, Disney and #Lucasfilm will face trouble with deciding how to continue the story, but going by a recent interview...
Carrie Fisher Might Not Be Brought Back Digitally
In #RogueOne, several key characters from 1977's A New Hope had to make an appearance, including the evil Grand Moff Tarkin, originally played by Peter Cushing. The actor passed away in 1994 but Disney inserted him in the movie through CGI. Despite having the actor's estate permission to go ahead with their intentions, the move received heavy backlash from some circles, raising important moral questions.
During an interview with The New York Times, Industrial Light & Magic chief creative officer John Knoll said this about the ethics behind bringing an actor back from the dead for a film:
“[It's] a super high-tech and labor-intensive version of doing makeup.We’re transforming the actor’s appearance to look like another character, but just using digital technology."
Despite that reasoning, it seems #Disney doesn't want to get into that argument with fans anytime soon with their upcoming Star Wars films, as Knoll added:
"It is extremely labor-intensive and expensive to do. I don't imagine anybody engaging in this kind of thing in a casual manner. We're not planning on doing this digital re-creation extensively from now on. It just made sense for this particular movie."
With that in mind, the question now becomes:
How Will 'Episode VIII' And 'IX' Be Affected?
Do they include a fully digital Carrie Fisher to carry on Leia's legacy or will her death be written into the film?
The former is a very costly option for two reasons: One, the technology to do it doesn't completely deliver. We can tell it's not a real person, something that happened in Fast 7 with Paul Walker. It was a well-made final product, but not convincing enough:
Two, because of how expensive it is, Leia would have to be used sparingly, much like what happened with Tarkin in Rogue One: He had a few scenes, but he wasn't as large of a presence as, say, Orson Krennic.
On the other hand, if Leia's death is written into the story, Disney will probably have to reshape Episode VIII to set up her passing. It would feel very anticlimactic to leave the movie as it is and then include a line explaining how the character died offscreen before the events of Episode IX.
Going back to Fast 7, when #PaulWalker died, the film was postponed in order to make the story fit around his character's retirement, as he was supposed to keep going for future installments. Fortunately for Disney, Episode VIII is more than a year away, so they don't have the problem of the movie coming out in five months while they're dealing with a major actor's death. However, respect should win over convenience for a studio.
Which Is More Respectful: A Digital Revival Or A Script Rewrite?
An actor's death is a touchy subject to bring up when it comes to a franchise, especially when they were so beloved and inspiring. Do you do what's best for the franchise or do you do service to the actor? Where's the balance? Is it really disrespectful to bring an actor back from the dead through CGI when the studio's plan for the franchise rested on their shoulders?
Through a digital revival, we'd get to see our beloved Princess Leia complete her second trilogy; we'd get to see where Disney wanted her character to go. But even if we had an animated representation of Leia, without Carrie Fisher behind it...would it really be our Leia? Yes, she's ultimately a fictional character but one that was brought to life by Fisher and Fisher alone.
Fisher was a smart, talented woman who charmed us with her jokes, anecdotes, and straightforward openness about herself. Having an animation portray Princess Leia would not be the same simply because it wouldn't be Carrie Fisher pulling the strings, developing her character.
That's what makes a restructuring of Episode VIII the better option to bid farewell to Fisher. The studio has the time to make that happen without the movie being a mess. She completed work on the film. As sad as it is, saying goodbye through her last real performance is a good way to move on.
In the end, I am confident Disney will choose the most respectful way to treat her passing.
- Do Disney And Lucasfilm Have Contingency Plans For The Star Wars Saga?
- How 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' Brought An Iconic Original Character Back To Life
- Carrie Fisher's Daughter Billie Lourd To Have A Bigger Role In 'Star Wars: Episode VIII'