There be Rogue One spoilers ahead; ye have been warned.
LucasFilm has issued a statement following overwhelming speculation over the future of General Leia Organa in the Star Wars franchise. Last week a report surfaced that Carrie Fisher's estate was in 'discussions' with LucasFilm about the possibility of digitally recreating General Organa for several key scenes in Episode IX. The reports were unconfirmed, but that didn't stop the Star Wars community from letting their feelings be known, and they were as far from positive as it's possible to be.
In light of such negativity, LucasFilm's brief statement is quick to clarify that they have no such plans.
"We don’t normally respond to fan or press speculation, but there is a rumor circulating that we would like to address. We want to assure our fans that Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher’s performance as Princess or General Leia Organa.
Carrie Fisher was, is, and always will be a part of the Lucasfilm family. She was our princess, our general, and more importantly, our friend. We are still hurting from her loss. We cherish her memory and legacy as Princess Leia, and will always strive to honor everything she gave to Star Wars."
The digital recreation of Peter Cushing's Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One divided Star Wars fans, the technical feat of seemingly resurrecting a beloved actor two decades after his death can't be ignored, but was it the right thing to do? I won't lie; it was a shade distracting seeing Tarkin again and I say that as a huge Cushing fan. While part of me thinks he'd get a macabre kick out of being back on the big screen, there's no escaping the fact that it's just a bit creepy.
The use of Peter Cushing's likeness was used with the full permission of his estate, and from a narrative point of view, it would have been strange if Tarkin wasn't there as he is in charge of The Death Star in A New Hope. Some fans suggested it would have been better if the producers cast an actor that looked a bit like Cushing, and that was apparently LucasFilm's backup plan if the digital make-up didn't measure up. LucasFilm felt that the CGI did measure up as they released the movie with the digital Tarkin.
We saw a young Princess Leia at the end of Rogue One using the same digital recreation technology, Carrie Fisher saw the brief scene before her passing and was full of praise for the technical achievement. Carrie Fisher completed filming on Episode VIII a few months before her tragic death in December and her scenes will be included in the finished cut. It might not seem like a great deal of comfort right now, but at least we get to see General Leia Organa one more time in what will be Fisher's final film role.
Star Wars Episode VIII is released in UK cinemas on December 15.