The late Carrie Fisher will be appearing in Star Wars: Episode IX, and director J.J. Abrams is the person responsible for helping to make it happen.
Excited and thankful, Todd Fisher (the brother of Carrie Fisher) told The Hollywood Reporter, "J.J. [Abrams] really made this happen."
Todd stated in April 2017 that Carrie would be featured by way of unused footage. Initially, LucasFilm president Kathleen Kennedy denied Fisher would appear in Episode IX, saying, “Sadly, Carrie will not be in 9, but we will see a lot of Carrie in 8.”
However, it was revealed Friday that Carrie Fisher’s legendary role as Princess Leia will play out for the rest of the series using footage meant for, but ultimately never used in, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Abrams issued a statement reaffirming how beloved and irreplaceable Carrie Fisher was. "We desperately loved Carrie Fisher," he said. “Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast, or use a CG character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie, we have found a way to honor Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII.”
Todd Fisher may have given Lucasfilm the idea of how to properly incorporate Carrie in Episode IX, and if that is the case, he is glad. "If I was in anyway an inspiration for the final decision to keep Leia a part of the story, that's great," he said. "I must say at times I felt like a voice crying in the wilderness."
Directed by J.J. Abrams, Star Wars: Episode IX opens on December 20, 2019 and stars Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian and Keri Russell in a currently unnamed role.