Yesterday, we learned of the sad passing of Carrie Fisher. Fisher suffered a heart attack over the holiday weekend, and died on Tuesday. While her legions of fans mourned the loss of the talented writer and actress, they took comfort in knowing that they would be treated to yet another performance from her. Fisher had reprised her role as General Leia for Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode VIII, and it wasn’t a surprise to learn she had shot all of her scenes since principal photography wrapped back in July.
According to Deadline, Leia had a larger role in Episode VIII, although “larger” leaves a lot of room for speculation since Leia was only in a handful of scenes in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. So is she now in five scenes instead of four, or is she a presence throughout the film? There’s no way of knowing right now.
While Fisher completed her scenes for principal photography, we’re still left with the question of if she completed her ADR for the film, and we don’t know what reshoots will need to be done ahead of the picture’s release. The production will figure out a way forward, of course, and while I don’t expect any extreme measures like needing to CGI in Fisher, Disney has the considerable resources to help Johnson realize his vision.
Another question fans will have is what happens with Leia going forward? If the character survives Episode VIII, it will be difficult to put her in Episode IX (some may feel like the CGI Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One opens the door for a CGI General Leia, but it feels macabre in Rogue One and it would certainly feel disrespectful for Episode IX given the recentness of Fisher’s death).
Although some may argue that it’s too soon to discuss these questions, these questions come about because people loved seeing Fisher as Leia, and they hope that her final performance as the character will be as fully realized as possible given her untimely passing.