Carrie Fisher’s death last month was met with shock and an outpouring of tributes, odes to her humor and candor, and recollections of the ways she activated her fame through her outspokenness on issues of gender bias and mental illness.
Of course, there was also mourning over the symbolic loss in the form of Leia Organa, an inarguably immense cultural icon, who’d only just been brought back into action in The Force Awakens, and who was set to appear in the two following Star Wars films. As memorials have circulated and funeral plans have made the news, Disney is now delving into the complicated territory of ending (or continuing, whatever that might entail) the story of a fictional icon due to the all-too-recent real life loss. The idea of corporate meetings determining what to do now to continue a multi-billion-dollar franchise may sound cynical, despite their necessity; but there’s also a need to give a proper sendoff to such a culturally important character.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jurassic World‘s Colin Trevorrow, who’s directing Star Wars Episode IX, is flying into Los Angeles on the week of January 10 to meet with Lucasfilms’ Kathleen Kennedy and discuss options for altering the film’s Leia Organa plot line. Apparently it’s unknown whether the script for the final film of the new trilogy — written by Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly — had already been completed.
The following bears light spoilers for what was at least planned: THR has been told that there were two very pivotal scenes involving Leia over the course of the next two films: one in which she finally (as it was bound to happen eventually, following the end of The Force Awakens) meets up with her brother, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), and another that’s a “confrontation” with her and Han Solo’s son Kylo Ren (Adam Driver.)
It’s known that Fisher finished shooting her scenes for the Rian Johnson-directed Episode VIII prior to her death; in his tribute to her in THR, it seems Hamill suggests that they got to work on some scenes together, so it’s possible that we will still see the Luke and Leia reunion in the next film. THR says that insiders have informed them, however, that Leia was supposed to play a greater role in Episode IX than Episode VIII.
THR lists certain potential options the studio/filmmakers could explore — including writing Leia out of parts of Episode VIII and doing reshoots of the already completed production (as was the case in Rogue One); another option could be to leave that as is, and make the changes to the script of Episode IX; another option (and this one has all sorts of ethical problems, and could be just sad and distracting) is to, as they did with a younger Leia and the late Peter Cushing’s character in Rogue One, create a CGI version of the character. Hopefully whatever they do (and hopefully they won’t choose the latter option) will properly honor both the character and the actress who made her matter.