Earlier this week, a distasteful rumor that Lucasfilm was going to use CGI (like we just saw in Rogue One) to recreate the late Carrie Fisher for future appearances of Princess Leia in the Skywalker saga began to spread like wildfire when BBC Newsnight reported that Lucasfilm was reportedly negotiating with Fisher’s estate for the continued use of her likeness. But thankfully, Lucasfilm has responded to the rumor, crushing it with their official statement:
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.
Myself, many Star Wars fans, and most importantly Carrie Fisher’s family are still mourning the untimely loss of Carrie. While I don’t think the use of a CGI Leia would be unethical, it would, however, be insensitive this close to Fisher’s death. As we saw just a few years ago, Universal Pictures had to recreate the likeness of Paul Walker using CGI and his brothers, both Caleb and Cody (along with the blessing of Walker’s family) to complete Paul’s scenes in Furious 7 when Paul tragically passed away in a car accident midway through the film’s production. That is now the case, however, with Fisher.
Carrie had already completed her scenes for Episode VIII before she passed away but that doesn’t mean the film won’t be affected. Insiders have told THR that at least two major scenes from the upcoming films (Episode VIII and Episode IX) will be affected including (spoiler warning) a reunion between Princess Leia and her brother, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), and a confrontation between Leia and her son, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), over the murder of his father, Leia’s husband, Han Solo (Harrison Ford). Lucasfilm has already begun to develop a plan to weigh out the options with Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow. Considering Episode VIII isn’t due out until the end of this year, Lucasfilm has plenty of time to come with a way to alter the storyline that not only serves the franchise best but also honors the memory of Carrie Fisher.
As Carrie Fisher’s family and Star Wars fans around the world mourn the loss of Carrie, Lucasfilm has begun to look to the future in order to develop a plan to rework the story for Episode IX due to the untimely death of the franchise’s beloved Princess.
THR reports Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow will fly to Los Angeles next week to meet with Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy to weigh out the options of how to alter the storyline in a way that not only serves the franchise best but also honors the memory of Carrie Fisher.
Insiders told THR that at least two major scenes from the upcoming films will be affected including (spoiler warning) a reunion between Princess Leia and her brother, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), and a confrontation between Leia and her son, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), over the murder of his father, Leia’s husband, Han Solo (Harrison Ford).
While It’s not something I care too much about at the moment, although I’m sure I will greatly going forward, Lucasfilm has plenty of time to come up with something that makes sense and serves the story well with Episode IX not due to start shooting for a few more months and the release of Episode VIII just under a year away. My only hope is that it doesn’t end up being something implausible like Paul Walker’s exit from the Fast franchise. Universal did they best they could mid-production of Furious 7 after the untimely loss of Walker, however. The exit of Brian O’Connor from the story doesn’t make much sense anymore with his brother-in-law, Vin Diesel, breaking bad in The Fate of the Furious.
Leia’s scenes could be reshot to work an exit for her character into the story or they could use CGI most recently seen in Rogue One to work around Carrie’s death. While it wouldn’t be unethical, my money would be on the former as the use of CGI to resurrect Fisher in order to keep her character going seems a little insensitive this close to Fisher’s death. At least in the case of Furious 7, it was really only used to exit Walker from the franchise.
Lucasfilm is taking their time, carefully crafting the latest trilogy of the Skywalker Saga. Episode VIII, which will be released two years after The Force Awakens during the Christmas 2017 season, began filming in February of 2016 just a month and a half after The Force Awakens hit theaters. The film completed production in July and by August it was being piped into the editing bay for Rian Johnson to begin assembling the project. John Williams also began writing the score for the film back in August and is heading into the recording studio to begin scoring the film this month which suggests a cut of the film is most certainly in order.
Per a new report from Project Casting, Star Wars Episode IX could start filming as early as April 2017 giving the film a total of 25 months to complete production.
While film productions are coming together faster and faster, Lucasfilm is giving director Colin Trevorrow plenty of time to helm a film that will protect the value of Disney’s acquisition of the brand for years to come.
The Young Han Solo spinoff also starts filming this January, set for a May 2018 release giving it just about a year and a half to meet the deadline for its theatrical debut.
Star Wars Episode IX is slated for release on May 23, 2019.
SOURCE: PROJECT CASTING