**Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens & Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Spoilers**
Star Wars legend Carrie Fisher tragically passed away December 27, 2016, just 10 days after a computer generated (CG) version of Princess Leia appeared in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Aside from the emotional void we’ll all feel as fans of the royal Princess/General herself, many questions have arisen surrounding future Star Wars films, most notably Episodes VIII (now titled The Last Jedi) and IX. Though The Last Jedi finished up filming last summer, a lot can happen before the film debuts this December.
I always had a theory that Disney would kill off the original three stars in this new trilogy, one per film. Of course, I am 1 for 1 so far with the death of Han Solo at the hands of Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens. I would certainly have preferred to see Luke, Han, and Leia retire off to a tropical planet reminiscent of Scarif after all they’ve done for the galaxy, but apparently their work is never done.
My theory might now have to be altered (pray I don’t alter it any further), as I get the feeling Disney’s approach has to change with Fisher’s passing. Though Lucasfilm typically doesn’t comment on speculation, they made an exception with this following statement from last week on Twitter via the StarWars account:
“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,” the statement ran. “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 key phrase here is “has no plans.” Perhaps they currently don’t intend to use her in this manner, but only time will tell if that holds true. Here are 6 directions that Lucasfilm & Disney could take.
1. Kill Leia Organa Off in The Last Jedi, On Screen
**GASP** right?! False. As I referenced above, I had always theorized that Disney would kill off each of the big 3. Again, I would rather see Leia “retire,” but in this scenario, Director Rian Johnson and co. kill off Leia. The question is this – when the film was shot this past year, was this already her fate? If so, that solves just about everything. This is the best scenario possible because it is the most practical. Before Fisher passed away, my opinion was that Luke would die in this one (at the hands of one Kylo Ren, his former apprentice) and that Leia would play a prominent role in Episode IX in bringing Ben Solo back to the light side. Though I still feel that Luke will not make it out alive in Episode VIII, I also think that Leia will share the same fate. Mark Hamill even referenced the altered feeling of Episode VIII on Twitter, claiming that there would a feeling of “melancholy” in the movie due to Fisher’s absence.
2. Kill Leia Organa Off In The Last Jedi, Off Screen
There are a number of way this could turn out, but my opinion is it would be very difficult to pull off in a manner that A. Does the character of Leia justice and B. Does so in a way that satisfies hardcore, long time Star Wars fans such as myself. Does her cruiser get destroyed? Does another planet killer such as the Death Star or Starkiller Base emerge to destroy a Resistance home base planet? Please no to that last one. I will say, I believe a scenario in which she dies aboard a star ship could be the best way to go, as footage could absolutely be edited in a manner that makes sense and avoids the CG aspect all together.
3. Kill Off Leia Organa Between Episodes VIII & IX
Nuh uh. Don’t do it. The emotional roller coaster would be too much. It just won’t work. Imagine seeing Leia survive Episode VIII, only to have to be killed off or explained in a new novel or comic. It would be a major disservice. What could be an acceptable scenario is if Leia survives Episode VIII but scenes are reshot in some very small capacity so that she pulls a Luke and vanishes. Telling the story of her dismissal off screen in this case would be permissible but not favorable.
4. Recast Leia Organa
Nope, not having this one. Not one bit. Questions had arisen early last year about the possibility of seeing young Leia in Rogue One, but I dismissed the idea quickly. Because A New Hope came out nearly 40 years ago, Fisher would not have looked the part in any reality. Because Rogue One wraps up approximately ten minutes before A New Hope begins, a different actress wouldn’t make sense, no matter how similar she might have looked. Disney took the route no one saw coming and used a young actress named Ingvild Delia and placed a CGI face that matched Episode IV Leia’s. But what if the role was recast entirely? If we are talking about the current trilogy in the Skywalker Saga, I don’t envision any scenario in which this works short of the unlikely scenario in which it’s revealed that Fisher had a twin sister all these years. If we are focusing on future spinoff films, much like the upcoming Han Solo Anthology movie, then I say it would depend on a number of variables. If we are showing a very young Leia (around age 10-16ish), it could work in a limited capacity, as in a secondary role. For what it’s worth, Leia was 19 years old as of A New Hope.
5. Give Leia Organa The Rogue One-Grand Moff Tarkin Treatment
In Rogue One, we witnessed the likeness of the late Peter Cushing in the performance of Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin. It was stunning and in a way, unprecedented. A true game changer in how films utilize characters and how we speculate as a member of the entertainment media. I mentioned the “Tarkin Treatment” because though Princess Leia’s likeness was crafted the same way, only one brief scene was shot in which Leia was largely immobile and uttered only one word. Tarkin is a prominent character in Rogue One, played by actor Guy Henry but with the digital likeness of Peter Cushing’s A New Hope appearance. I’ve had conversations recently with colleagues about this and some were in favor of seeing it play out this way. Again, I want none of it. I don’t want Leia continuing on in this fashion.
6. Create An All CG Leia Organa
I know, Lucasfilm has stated that this won’t be happening. And I believe them. But what if they pulled a 180? I’d be very interested to hear the results, though I think that the majority of Star Wars fans would not want to see Leia this way. While Tarkin looked superb at times, the technology isn’t perfect yet. He didn’t blend in so well next to real life human beings. Leia is simply too big and too important of a character to do this to. Disney’s fantastic animated series, Star Wars: Rebels, did an awesome job of animating a 15 year old Princess Leia in season 2 of the series, from appearance to mannerisms to sound. It felt authentic. I still don’t want to see this in a live action setting.
What do you think about the points I have mentioned? Which scenario is most viable to you? I’d love to hear your comments below here or on Twitter. Thanks for reading.
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