Disney and Lucasfilm surprised “Star Wars” fans when they announced in July 2018 the late Carrie Fisher would appear as General Leia one last time in “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” using footage director J.J. Abrams shot but never used for “The Force Awakens.” Just how Fisher’s “Force Awakens” footage will be integrated into “The Rise of Skywalker” storyline is one of the big questions on “Star Wars” fans’ minds heading into the upcoming film’s December release. Carrie Fisher’s brother, Todd, tells Yahoo Entertainment that Abrams only had a minimal amount of footage to work with in order to ensure Fisher would make her mark in the last Skywalker saga film.
“The truth is that J.J. Abrams was great friends with Carrie…he had an extraordinary sense of love for her,” Todd said. “They had eight minutes of footage. They grabbed every frame and analyzed it and then reverse-engineered it and [got] it into the story the right way. It’s kind of magical.”
Todd Fisher made headlines at the start of 2019 for saying he was “thrilled” by what Abrams was doing with the unused “Force Awakens” footage. “It’s going to look like it was meant to be,” he told Good Morning America. “Like it was shot yesterday.” In his interview with Yahoo, Fisher said the eight minutes Abrams was able to pull from will honor both Leia and Carrie’s legacies.
“This is, in its own way, a payoff,” Fisher said. “It’s Carrie talking to us all from beyond. The beautiful thing about the concept of the Force is that there is no real death; you just exist in another dimension. So Carrie is looking down or sideways or wherever and is still part of us. To be able to see that — it’s magical stuff only in the movies.”
While Carrie Fisher will be a presence in “The Rise of Skywalker,” Todd Fisher said her original role for the movie was to be a full-blown Jedi. “She was going to be the big payoff in the final film,” he said. “She was going to be the last Jedi, so to speak. That’s cool right?” According to Todd, there were even plans to have Carrie’s Leia finally use her own lightsaber.
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” opens in theaters nationwide December 20 from Disney.