Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be the last time we see Carrie Fisher play Leia, but a new report in EW makes it look like she’ll be leaving the series on a high note. While her role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens was brief but memorable, The Last Jedi looks like it will really give her a lot to do.
If you expected the Resistance to be on the rise with the destruction of Starkiller Base and the loss of the Republic, you’d be mistaken. “No, no, no. Not at all,” director Rian Johnson says. “They’re a small band that’s now cut off, on its own, and hunted when the Republic is shattered. When the First Order did that hit, the Resistance is isolated, and they’re very, very vulnerable. That’s where we pick them up.”
On top of these external difficulties, Leia is also facing personal grief as well. The Force Awakens didn’t really let us spend time with a woman whose son had killed the man she once loved (and arguably still loved in some regards), so presumably there will be some fallout from that. But Leia, never down and out, finds a way forward by helping out Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). “Poe is in some ways a surrogate son for Leia,” Isaac tells EW. “But also I think she sees in him the potential for a truly great leader of the Resistance and beyond.” He continues:
“Poe’s arc is one of evolving from a heroic soldier to a seasoned leader, to see beyond the single-mindedness of winning the battle to the larger picture of the future of the galaxy,” Isaac says. “I think Leia knows she won’t be around forever and she, with tough love, wants to push Poe to be more than the badass pilot, to temper his heroic impulses with wisdom and clarity.”
That’s kind of a genius pairing because Force Awakens kind of sets Poe up as a Han Solo-like figure, cool and suave, and then pairing him with Leia allows her to give him a different path. Instead of a guy who’s out for his own glory, he takes on the responsibilities that the original Han Solo shunned.
However, Leia won’t just be making friendships in the new movie. She might also have a new foe in Laura Dern’s Vice Admiral Holdo, a fellow commander in the Resistance. “I don’t want to tip the hat too much, but I will say that the heat is immediately turned up on the Resistance,” Johnson says. “Everybody is put in a pressure cooker right away, and relationships crack and strain under that pressure. That was really interesting to me, the notion of putting this small army under a lot of external pressure and showing some of the results within the Resistance itself.” So there’s going to probably be at least one scene where Dern and Fisher are acting off each other, and that alone is worth the price of admission.
Fisher had wrapped filming on The Last Jedi at the time of her death, and Johnson says that the character’s storyline hasn’t been changed in response to Fisher’s passing:
“There’s no way that we could’ve known this would’ve been the last Star Wars movie she would be in, so it’s not like we made the film thinking that we were bringing closure to the character,” Johnson says. “But watching the film, there’s going to be a very emotional reaction to what she does in this movie.”
Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens December 15th.
For more on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, peruse the links below and head over to EW to check out their full cover story coverage.
- ‘Star Wars’: Snoke’s Guards Revealed; Rian Johnson Teases How Much We’ll Learn about the Villain
- ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi”: 8 New Images Showcase TIE Silencer, Casino on Canto Bight, and More
- Mark Hamill Talks a Regretful Luke in ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ and a Hidden Backstory
- In ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’, Finn Wants Out of the Resistance