Carrie Fisher's death was one of the greatest tragedies of 2016 — when her passing was announced, people all over the world were thrown into mourning, and there were many accolades and memorials to the iconic actress.
Fisher was more than just that-woman-who-played-Leia, she was an accomplished actor and writer, a script doctor to Hollywood blockbusters, and an advocate for mental health awareness — with a larger-than-life personality that made her an inspiration to many people, myself included.
Yet, as Fisher recounts in her excellent memoir The Princess Diarist, she lead a dual existence because in many people's minds her identity was synonymous with that of the indomitable Leia Organa, a character with a personality to rival Fisher's own.
I’ve spent the lion’s share of my life being as much myself as Princess Leia. Defending her, fed up of being mistaken for her, overshadowed by her, struggling with my resentment of her, making her my own, loving her… careful to not do anything that might reflect badly on her or that she might disapprove of, feeling honored to be her representative here on Earth.
While many mourned #CarrieFisher, many were also mourning Leia: The princess-turned-rebel is a much-loved character, inspiring us to greatness and reminding us that good girls seldom make galactic history.
As Leia's fate hangs in the balance, many are assuming that, out of respect for Fisher, Lucasfilm will not let Leia outlive her actress for long — yet recent reports suggest otherwise.
A Crucial Role In Episode IX
We already knew that General Leia will have a bigger role in #StarWars8, but now it seems Star Wars 9 was to be her finest hour. In an exclusive report, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that there were two key scenes planned for Star Wars Episode 9: One in which Leia is reunited with her brother Luke, and one in which she confronts her son Kylo Ren.
It goes without saying that, after all the set-up in The Force Awakens, these scenes were likely to be the most narratively satisfying and poignant of the entire Sequel Trilogy, explaining why Lucasfilm/Disney received a $50 million insurance payout for the loss of Carrie Fisher. It's likely that the Sequel Trilogy movies were each going to feature one of the original trio as the main mentor character — Han Solo with Finn and Rey in #TheForceAwakens, Luke Skywalker training Rey in Episode 8, and General Leia Organa leading the final battle against the First Order in Episode 9.
Following the pattern of the Original Trilogy, it's fair to predict that #StarWars9 will document the fall of the First Order and the reestablishment of a democratic Senate, coupled with Rey and Luke Skywalker's Jedi mission. With General Leia leading the Resistance, Episode 9 would have featured Leia more than the other movies in the Sequel Trilogy, finally doing justice to her role as both a military and political leader.
The problem is what to do now. After Peter Cushing was digitally added to Rogue One as a major supporting character, THR suggest that Lucasfilm/Disney will use the same CGI wizardry to allow Leia to fulfill her planned role in Star Wars 9. But while this may be the best thing for the character, it would probably be the biggest insult to Fisher's memory.
Leia Deserves Her End — But Not Without Fisher
While Leia is undeniably iconic, of the three main characters Leia has the least to do in the Original Trilogy.
Despite her role in the Rebellion, we never get to see her lead her own Rebel mission — while Rogue One made us greater appreciate Leia's role in A New Hope, the only time we truly see how important Leia was to the Rebellion is when she commands the X-Wing pilots during the evacuation of Hoth in Empire Strikes Back.
If you read the canon books, like Bloodline and Before The Awakening, you'll know just how crucial Leia is to allowing the events of the Sequel Trilogy to unfold. When the new senate fell prey to corruption, Leia investigated the insidious First Order. And despite huge pressure to just shut up and toe the line, Leia formed her own military rebellion: The Resistance.
Yet, very little of this is evident in The Force Awakens. Sure, we get the impression that Leia is important to the Resistance, but it's never obliquely stated that she is their leader — and with many of her scenes deleted, her role in the Resistance, and the movie, is significantly downplayed.
It's sad that such a fantastic character as Leia has been so frequently underwritten and sidelined, and it's tragic that she now won't see her Resistance through, not to mention never reuniting with her brother and son... unless Lucasfilm uses CGI wizardry to insert Fisher into Star Wars 9, and here's hoping they don't. It would be a huge insult Fisher's memory to ensure that Leia outlives her actress' performance of her.
As much as I want to revel in Leia's final victory against the First Order, Carrie Fisher had a very complex relationship with the character she portrayed for decades. Often mistaken for Leia, Fisher recounts in The Princess Diarist (and her other two memoirs) how long it took her to come to terms with living side-by-side with Leia.
But above all, Fisher felt a huge amount of protectiveness how Leia was represented and portrayed.
Whoever [I] might have been before Leia eclipsed me, [I still] resent it when other people would try to put words in her mouth without consulting me! You mean I got to decide all things Leia only between sequels?
So as much as we love Leia and want to see her story through, that's nothing compared to the tragedy of losing Carrie Fisher. It is important to remember that Leia is still just a character. We can mourn her, but Fisher was a real person, and she — not CGI magic — should be the only one allowed to see Leia's story through to its intended end.
Tell us in the comments: Do you think Lucasfilm should use CGI to put Leia into Star Wars Episode IX?
[Source: The Hollywood Reporter]