After the tragic and untimely passing of Carrie Fisher last December, many fans wondered what that meant for the untitled ninth installment in the Star Wars saga. Initially, there was speculation that Fisher’s General Leia Organa would appear in the film using previously recorded footage, which turned out to be false. However, according to producer Kathleen Kennedy, before Fisher’s death, there were plans to place Leia front and center in Episode IX.
Kennedy, while speaking with Vanity Fair, discussed a conversation she had with the late Carrie Fisher after the actress completed filming her scenes for The Last Jedi. “She was having a blast,” Kennedy said of the late star. “The minute she finished, she grabbed me and said, ‘I’d better be at the forefront of IX!’ Because Harrison was front and center on VII, and Mark is front and center on VIII. She thought IX would be her movie. And it would have been.”
While it’s certainly fun to imagine a Leia-centric Star Wars saga film, it’s equally heartbreaking to know that the actress’ death means that it’s simply a dream that will never truly come to fruition. And though it might not completely soften the blow, we do know that Leia will have a bigger role in Episode VIII than she did in The Force Awakens, giving Carrie Fisher’s legions of fans something to look forward to this year.
Written and directed by Rian Johnson, Star Wars: The Last Jedi features returning cast members Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata, Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma and Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke, joined by franchise newcomers Kelly Marie Tran as Rose, and Benicio del Toro as DJ and Laura Dern as Amilyn Holdo. The film opens on December 15.