*Warning: Don't look below this line if you don't want spoilers for Rogue One. Ah. You looked, didn't you?*
It was only one word. One word synonymous with a fictional universe adored by millions the world over. From 1977, that one word has been hope, and in 2016, "hope" was the only word spoken by a computer-generated Princess Leia, the common word becoming the thread linking Rogue One to A New Hope.
Much has been made of the CGI appearances from Carrie Fisher's Leia, as well as Peter Cushing's Grand Moff Tarkin, and rightly so; the use of technology to resurrect Cushing raises serious moral questions, questions that have only become more relevant following the death of Fisher.
Aside from the controversy, the cutting-edge process and final result are still highly impressive (well, at least for Leia — many didn't enjoy Tarkin's extended input). Although most of the focus is on appearance, beyond the facade of rendered replication, the sound editors behind the scenes of #RogueOne went to great lengths to provide an authentic replication of the voice of Princess Leia, #CarrieFisher herself.
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Out With The New, In With The Old
In an interview with Yahoo! Movies, Rogue One sound editor Matthew Wood discussed how he trawled through the archives to piece together that one word. He said:
"First off, we kind of knew what the script was going to be for that final line, how they wanted to put the button on the whole movie and then connect it right up to New Hope. So I got a call to try to find the original tapes of anything that Carrie had done from ’77."
The beauty of Rogue One is the mixture of old and new, how the film feels distinctly unique and fresh, yet also manages to delicately weave in constant threads of #StarWars nostalgia. On top of using real footage from X-Wing pilots during the final battle, Leia's line was also recycled from an iconic moment in A New Hope. Wood added:
"I found the original quarter-inch rolls in an archives box at Lucasfilm, and I just transferred every single take of the 'Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope' scene, the hologram scene from the original film. And there were a lot of takes. So I grabbed all that."
Which. Is. Pretty. Awesome. Right? Even better still, Wood explains how he meticulously worked through a rich back-catalogue of Fisher's alternative takes, including her fluffing her lines occasionally due to wordy dialogue.
Too Great A Task For Princess Leia In 'Star Wars 9'
Taking the topic back to ethics, and following Fisher's death, there has been speculation as to whether Disney will opt to use similar technology to continue Leia's storyline in the main saga.
Although Fisher had finished filming for #StarWars8, Leia was due to have an important role in #StarWars9, leaving the studio with a difficult decision — do they drastically rewrite, or use CGI to tell the story? To highlight the urgency of their decision, there have been reports that Disney have already spoken to Fisher's family to discuss the possibility.
However, the above comments from Wood highlight a problem. Considering the amount of effort it took to add one word from #CarrieFisher's archives, it'd be inconceivable to do the same for such an integral role. Which would result in another actor performing the dialogue, similar to Tarkin, or Paul Walker in Furious 7.
For an actress who is such a huge part of the franchise, could such reconstruction ever do Fisher's #PrincessLeia justice?
Did you notice Princess Leia's line in Rogue One was taken from A New Hope?