We'll get to see Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa one final time in J.J Abrams' as yet untitled Star Wars Episode IX. No digital trickery will be used as Leia will feature in the trilogy closer using footage that was shot for The Force Awakens but ultimately didn't make it into the final cut of the film. In a brief statement released via Deadline, Abrams spoke lovingly about the irreplaceable, one of a kind, and deeply missed Carrie Fisher.
“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. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie [Lourd], we have 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.”
The inclusion of previously unseen footage also got the endorsement of Carrie Fisher's brother, Todd;
“As we, her family, as well as her extended family of fans around the world so believe, Carrie’s ‘Princess Leia is forever entrenched in the franchise and her indelible presence is fundamental to the film. 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. Our family and her fans will look forward with great anticipation for this one! Her force will forever be with us!”
Production is due to start this week in Pinewood Studios with new casting additions Naomi Ackie (Lady Macbeth) and Richard E. Grant also announced. They'll be joining Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Billie Lourd, Domhnall Gleeson, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, and Billy Dee Williams make his long-awaited return as Lando Calrissian
It remains unclear how the unseen footage will be repurposed for the conclusion of the Skywalker saga, but we can trust in J.J Abrams to give the character a respectful send-off.
Star Wars Episode IX will be released on December 20, 2019.