Star Wars executives and creators will meet to discuss the role of Princess Leia in Episode VIII and IX following the death of star Carrie Fisher, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The Leia character was reportedly designed to play a large part in the forthcoming installments. Sources note two key scenes: a reunion with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and a confrontation with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).
This week, Rian Johnson, who directed Episode VIII, will meet with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and others to discuss possible options for how the trilogy will play out without Fisher. While Johnson finished shooting Episode VIII last August, a start date for Episode IX has yet to be announced, and it’s unclear how far along Colin Trevorrow (who will also direct) and Derek Connolly are with the script.
Despite the major loss of Fisher, some options on the table are rewriting Leia out of the movie and reshooting her scenes. There is also a CGI option that would allow the team to alter sequences or let Leia appear partially in the next movie. Recently, Furious 7 used CGI to add Paul Walker to a handful of scenes following his death during the filmmaking process, while the new Star Wars stand-alone, Rogue One, also used the technique to resurrect the late actor Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin.
Michael Fink, an Oscar-winning VFX supervisor said the CGI option is very viable, but noted, “so far, we have seen moments of success but not full performances.” He also touched on the possible ethical issues that arise when CGI is used to bring a performer back to life: “Should we create additional roles for Princess Leia? I don’t think so.”
Fisher died last month after suffering a massive heart attack on a Los Angeles-bound flight. She was 60.
Carrie Fisher talks about death and dying in our revealing, no-holds-barred ‘Last Word’ Q&A. Watch here.