Lucasfilm has finally revealed how it plans to deal with Carrie Fisher’s death in “Star Wars: Episode IX.”
The Disney-owned production company released a statement Friday saying the late actress would still appear in the new trilogy’s final installment, despite previous statements from president Kathleen Kennedy claiming she would “not be in IX.”
“The role of Leia Organa will once again be played by Carrie Fisher, using previously unreleased footage shot for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’” Lucasfilm said in a press release.
Carrie’s character was supposed to have a much bigger role in the new trilogy’s final installment than she did in “The Last Jedi,” but producers were forced to write her out following her death in 2016.
Sadly, Carrie will not be in IX,” Kennedy told “Good Morning America” last April. “But we will see a lot of Carrie in VIII.”
Director J.J. Abrams, who is returning to helm IX after handing over the reins to Rian Johnson for VIII, recounted how much the cast wanted Leia to be in the final movie.
“We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” Abrams explained. “Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast, or use a CG character.”
The filmmaker said the production team got “the support and blessing” from Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, to user her old clips.
“We found a way to honor Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII,” Abrams said.
Lucasfilm also revealed the official cast for Episode IX on Friday, saying they planned to start filming on Aug. 1.
“Returning cast members include Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Kelly Marie Tran, Lupita Nyong’o” and several others, according to the press release.
“Joining the cast of Episode IX are Naomi Ackie and Richard E. Grant, who will be joined by veteran Star Wars actors Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, and Billy Dee Williams, who will reprise his role as Lando Calrissian,” Lucasfilm said.
“Star Wars: Episode IX” is scheduled to be released in December 2019.