Insiders say General Leia was to have been a bigger part of Episode IX than VIII.
That’s the word from The Hollywood Reporter. Although the recently-deceased Carrie Fisher had finished all of her filming for the next Star Wars episode on the docket (to be released this December), sources inside Lucasfilm now tell THR that the Star Wars braintrust will soon meet in order to figure out what to do about the crucial role this iconic figure was supposed to play in the next episode, a story that possibly closes out another trilogy arc.
Set for production in 2018 and released in 2019, there’s time to reconfigure what will be a major shift in the planned mythology. The big question for co-writer/director Colin Trevorrow, producer/Lucasfilm CEO Kathleen Kennedy, and other core creatives within the Star Wars inner-circle is if Leia should be written out entirely, given a lesser role with the aid of CGI cloning (as was seen to polarizing reaction in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) or, if they feel bold enough with current technology (and public sentiment, which is fragile right now as it relates to Fisher), to gamble moving forward as-is with an entirely CGI-created facial performance.
“Rogue One is the road map,” says one Star Wars source. The only option that appears entirely off the table is re-casting.
Depending on how those decisions pan out, don’t be surprised if sometime in 2017 we hear reports of Episode VIII reshoots being done to accommodate the alterations made in the wake of this tragic turn of events. It’s a daunting responsibility to carry along with still-heavy hearts.
As one of the insiders put it, “People (inside Lucasfilm) are still deeply mourning Carrie’s death over there.”
- Added note: I saw someone in a comment thread suggest re-casting the role with Meryl Streep. Now that could be worthy of consideration. A re-casting of Leia would require someone as truly respected and iconic in her own right as Streep is to pull it off. Short of that, I think people would bristle at a re-casting, and couldn’t get past the fact that it’s not Fisher. Besides, Streep has already played Fisher once… #PostcardsFromFarFarAway