"When we bought Lucasfilm, we were going to make three films — Episodes VII, VIII and IX," Iger told Willow Bay, Dean of USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, in an interview (via The Hollywood Reporter). "We had to deal tragedy at the end of 2016. Carrie appears throughout VIII. We are not changing VIII to deal with her passing. Her performance remains as it is in VIII. In 'Rogue One,' we had some digital character. We are not doing that with Carrie."
Iger expressed that Disney is still trying to determine what the series future looks like, saying, "we’re starting talk about what could happen after 'Episode IX.' About what could be another decade-and-a-half of Star Wars stories."
The beloved actress passed away in 2016 from a cardiac episode she experienced on a flight from London to Los Angeles. "The Last Jedi" will be her final film. Though she was originally slated to appear in "Star Wars: Episode IX," Iger's statement is the second time that Disney has asserted that they won't have Fisher appear in the film digitally.
Fisher is probably most well-known for her role as Princess Leia in George Lucas' "Star Wars" series, though the actress also appeared in "The Blues Brothers" and "When Harry Met Sally." The actress was also an accomplished writer, having written several semi-autobiographical novels and as a script doctor. Fisher, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, spoke openly about her experiences in addition to her problems with cocaine and prescription drug abuse.
"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" will release on December 15. The Rian Johnson-directed film will star Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac.