With the tragic death of Carrie Fisher, who rose to fame for her role as Princess Leia in the original “Star Wars” trilogy, fans are speculating on whether Disney will digitally recreate her image for “Star Wars Episode IX” or alter the script.
Fisher appeared in the franchise’s “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens” as General Leia Organa and was slated to have pivotal roles in “Star Wars Episode VIII” and “Episode IX.” Her sudden passing on Dec. 27 had fans of the sci-fi saga reeling. “What happens to General Leia in Episode IX?” was the question most have asked in the past couple of weeks.
“Star Wars Episode VIII” has finished filming in July last year and is currently in post production. However, her character was slated to appear in “Episode IX,” which was scheduled to begin filming in 2018.
“The fact that we are talking about this shows how woven into the DNA of Star Wars Carrie Fisher is,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore, told CNBC, adding, “This is no small thing.”
Using visual effects to bring back a long-dead actor or actress to play a character onscreen is not unheard of.
The Star Wars franchise has utilized this technology with “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” to show a young Princess Leia and the late Peter Cushing.
“When he first showed up, my initial reaction was pure excitement at seeing Tarkin again,” a Disney visual effects artist said about the return of Cushing’s character in Rogue One, adding, “I had no idea it would be more than a little cameo. The more he did, the more I wondered why they were using him so much. He seemed as believable to me as I think they could have achieved.”
The visual effects artist said, however, that while using that piece of technology is very useful, it is also disrespectful to the dead actors.
Disney has not issued any statement on the matter.