When Lucasfilm, by that time a new Disney subsidiary, announced plans to go ahead with a new “sequel” trilogy of films for their iconic “Star Wars” franchise, doubtful naysayers were mollified with news that as many of the lead stars from the original trilogy would reprise their roles. Episodes VII and VIII have since been released; in those two films alone, two of the characters were killed off, and the third was feared unable to appear in Episode IX due to the passing of her actor. Fret not however; despite Carrie Fisher’s 2016 death, Princess Leia will return for IX.
Entertainment Weekly has it that Lucasfilm, on Friday last week, has announced that General Leia Organa, Princess of Alderaan, Galactic Senator, Rebel leader and founder of the anti-First Order Resistance, will indeed be returning in scenes for “Star Wars: Episode IX”. Her name was included in the cast list for the film, which also confirms the long-rumored return of Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian. In addition, Mark Hamill is also slated to return as Luke Skywalker, despite his death from overusing the power of the Force in the climax of “Episode VIII – The Last Jedi”. Apparently Hamill’s idea that he could reprise the role in IX as a “Force Ghost” might be spot on.
To facilitate the appearance of Carrie Fisher’s character Leia when she is no longer around, director J.J. Abrams will be drawing from the pool of footage shot of Fisher as General Organa from 2015’s “Episode VII: the Force Awakens”, which had also been directed by Abrams. The Lucasfilm press release also reveals that the decision to take unused footage of the actress was also given the blessing of her children Billie Lourd and Todd Fisher.
“I couldn’t be more personally thrilled and happy that our Carrie will reprise her role as Princess Leia in the new and final Star Wars Episode IX, using previously unreleased footage of her shot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” spoke Todd Fisher about giving the go-ahead for his mother’s “Episode IX” return. J.J. Abrams understood Carrie’s iconic role, and he has masterfully re-crafted this final entry to include this unused and very last footage of Carrie ever taken, without resorting to CGI or animatronics.”
Carrie Fisher passed away in December 2016 at 60 years old; it had been considered fortunate that all her scenes in “The Last Jedi” had been shot by that point.
A detail in the Lucasfilm casting announcement for “Star Wars: Episode IX” also hints that this will be the last “Star Wars” film with an episode number, and a conclusion to the story of the Skywalker family in the franchise. “Episode IX” premieres in 2019.
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