In a sprawling feature in Vanity Fair this week, Star Wars: The Last Jedi takes center-stage, as the cast and creators discuss just about everything (that they are allowed to) about their upcoming movie, including their intense sadness over the loss of Carrie Fisher. What’s perhaps all the more maddening is the reveal that Episode IX would have put Fisher’s Leia front and center, in the same way that Harrison Ford‘s Han Solo was at the crux of The Force Awakens, and Mark Hamill‘s Luke is at the heart of The Last Jedi. Kathleen Kennedy confirms, “The minute she finished, she grabbed me and said, ‘I’d better be at the forefront of IX!’ […] She thought IX would be her movie. And it would have been.”
As was discussed in the piece, Fisher’s sudden death put LucasFilms into a grief spiral that had to quickly turn to business — Episode IX was based around her, so where do things go from here? As we reported in April, the studio was quick to shut down rumors that Fisher might appear in Episode IX as a CG character, a la Tarkin in Rogue One (Leia also appeared as a CG recreation in that movie, briefly, although with footage from the original trilogy). Timeline-wise, Fisher had completed all of her work on The Last Jedi before she passed away, but no scripts were yet written for IX. Where that leaves the production, then, and the ongoing story is still a big question (as far as wrapping up Leia’s story, etc).
The cast also shared more thoughts and memories of Fisher, which are always gold, because she was such a colorful character, and because she meant so much to those who knew her. John Boyega shared that, after being shaken by the racist and canon-obsessed backlash to the first image of him in stormtrooper armor in Force Awakens, Fisher told him:
“I remember—and forgive me, I’m going to drop the f-bomb, but that’s just Carrie—she said, ‘Ah, boohoo, who fuckin’ cares? You just do you,’ ” he said. “Words like that give you strength. I bore witness in a million ways to her sharing her wisdom with Daisy [Ridley] too.”
Daisy Ridley added that,
“Carrie lived her life the way she wanted to, never apologizing for anything, which is something I’m still learning. ‘Embarrassed’ is the wrong word, but there were times through it all when I felt like I was … shrinking. And she told me never to shrink away from it—that it should be enjoyed.”
Oscar Isaac, who spends more screen time with Fisher in Episode XIII (where she has a much more expanded role), spoke about how Fisher always gave this character everything, and never treated Leia as just some kind of nostalgic cameo — she was always all-in:
“We did this scene where Carrie has to slap me. I think we did 27 takes in all, and Carrie leaned into it every time, man. She loved hitting me. Rian found such a wonderful way of working with her, and I think she really relished it.”