I developed a crush on a hologram at the ripe old age of 5. From the moment the elegant Princess from a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away was projected from an R2 unit, I was smitten. Princess Leia Organa was in need of Obi Wan’s help and in turn, she needed our help. Throughout A New Hope, I always took note of Carrie Fisher’s performance, even though I was years away from comprehending the profound impact she would have not just on me, but the Star Wars Fandom as well.
Her Name Is Leia
Leia Organa has been an integral part of the Star Wars Universe from the moment Padme gave birth to her and Luke. Showing her Skywalker lineage, Leia was feisty, headstrong, independent, strategic and strong. Episodes IV – VIII show her growth from a young Princess not dissuaded by the presence of Darth Vader, to the Force Strong General Badass in The Last Jedi. I know The Last Jedi (TLJ from here on) was received with mixed opinions. Some loved it. Some found it lacking. In regards to Leia, while I would have liked to see a longer reunion with Luke, I found her presence incredibly potent. As a seasoned General, Leia was poised, focused, decisive and aggressive. She showcased her Force Strength and literally prevented her own death.
And then Carrie passed.
Where do we go from here?
Obviously, if you have seen TLJ, you know that the Rebels, including General Organa, have escaped. That is where we “last left our heroes”. And when Carrie Fisher left this world, a mix of mourning and confusion hit the fandom. How will they account for her absence? Will they kill her off screen? Will they CGI her likeness in? Or worse, will she simply be replaced with a different actress. Luckily, Director JJ Abrams answered this for us:
We desperately loved Carrie Fisher. 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.
For me as a fan, this warranted to sigh of relief. From what I gather, Episode IX will be the closing of the Skywalker Saga and open the next chapter of the Franchise. The old guard truly moves on. But…how?
The WONDERS of Editing
Very little is known about Ep 9 save for the addition of my man Billy Dee Williams rejoining the series as well as Keri Russell’s debut. In regards to the fate of Leia, JJ Abrams is evidently sitting on a stockpile of unused footage from The Force Awakens. This instantly brings up confusion for many. From what I’ve seen, the general consensus is relief that they will bring closure to Leia’s story but how do you manipulate unused dialogue from The Force Awakens to be relevant to after the Battle of Crait? Simply put: Editing.
My speculation is that her final installment will feature interactions between Leia, Finn, Rey, Poe and Chewy. Unfortunately I doubt we’ll see a final interaction between Lando and Leia again as well unless some major editing is implemented to make it appear that they are speaking to each other. Which if done properly, I’d be okay with.
Strength of Character
JJ Abrams is smart. Really damn smart. Not writing the character off without any form of screen time would have been a disservice to not just the character, but to Carrie herself. She was larger than life. Sure she battled her demons but the best part is, she won! The loss of this woman was felt globally and we will never forget her. I personally think that Mark Hamill said it best:
It’s bittersweet facing my final chapter without her-She is simply irreplaceable. I’m finding solace in the fact that she won’t BE replaced & would love the worldwide outpouring of affection from those who loved her when they heard the news.#CarrieOnForever pic.twitter.com/7ueMqBxQwa
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) July 29, 2018
A Fitting End
Who knows how it all ends? Will they manage to give Leia a believable send off without actually filmed footage in context? Will she meet her fate at the end by her son Kylo? Will she go out in a blaze of glory on the Falcon? Only time will tell. But until then, this Scruffy lookin Nerf Herder will be waiting for his Princess to Grace us with her presence one last time!