Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy clarified in a pair of interviews Friday that Carrie Fisher will not appear in the 2019 film Star Wars: Episode IX, despite statements by the late actress’ brother asserting that Princess Leia would play a role in the trilogy-ending film.
“Sadly, Carrie will not be in [Episode] IX,” Kennedy told ABC News from the Star Wars Celebration, where the trailer for Episode VIII: The Last Jedi debuted. “But we will see a lot of Carrie in VIII.”
Kennedy’s clarification comes just a week after the actress’ brother Todd Fisher stated that both he and Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd granted Lucasfilm and Disney permission to utilize unused, recently filmed footage of the actress in Episode IX.
“She’s as much a part of it as anything and I think her presence now is even more powerful than it was, like Obi Wan — when the saber cuts him down he becomes more powerful,” Todd Fisher said. “I feel like that’s what’s happened with Carrie. I think the legacy should continue… Both of us were like, ‘Yes, how do you take her out of it?’ And the answer is you don’t.”
“[Todd Fisher] was probably confused because we finished everything in VIII, and Carrie is absolutely phenomenal in the movie. We’re so happy that we were able to complete shooting in the summer,” Kennedy said Friday. “Unfortunately, Carrie passed away. So by the time we were well under way with Episode IX, in our thoughts, we had not written the script, but we’ve regrouped and started over again in January.”
Kennedy noted in a separate interview with Yahoo (via The Playlist) that Fisher’s character played a “significant part” in the Episode IX outline, but after the Star Wars team and director Colin Trevorrow reconvened in January following Fisher’s December death, they opted to take the story in a different direction. “Given the circumstances, we would not carry on with that,” Kennedy said, adding of Todd Fisher’s statement, “I have no idea why he said that.”
Producers previously quashed rumors that they would rely upon CGI technology to bring Princess Leia into Episode IX; a CGI version of Fisher’s Princess Leia circa 1977 had a cameo in 2016’s Rogue One.
On Thursday, George Lucas and Fisher’s Star Wars co-stars Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill reunited at a 40th anniversary panel and remembered the actress with a poignant video tribute.