Along with the shattered hearts of fans across the galaxy, Carrie Fisher‘s death in late December 2016 has left a gaping hole in the plot of the newest additions to the Star Wars series. Sources have said that all her scenes for the next installment were shot before her death, but that still leaves two movies left in the trilogy that were expected to have General Leia Organa play a big role. While Disney could get an insurance payout of up to $50 million to help solve the practical issues that have been raised by the loss of one of the series’s most iconic actors, that’s not going to make it an easy feat.
It has been reported that Colin Trevorrow, co-writer and director of the script for Episode 9, is due to meet with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy in the week of January 10th 2016 to figure out how best to go about continuing the story without Carrie Fisher.
There is the option of keeping the scripts largely the same, if they were prepared to funnel a lot of money and effort into CGI. In Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, actor Peter Cushing, who died in 1994, was recreated entirely using CGI technology, because the story just wouldn’t have made sense without Imperial Officer Grand Moff Tarkin aboard the Death Star.
However, this could prove difficult if General Organa is due, as rumoured, to have a significant role in the upcoming movies. While the CGI Cushing is undeniably impressive, attempting to do the same with a character with much more screen time or dialogue would easily start to look out of place as viewers picked up on the difference between live actors and the CGI recreation. It also carries the risk of being unsettling for grieving fans so recently after Fisher’s death.
The alternative would be to change the script so that it didn’t include General Organa at all, but that comes with a whole host of its own problems. How, for instance, would they explain the sudden disappearance of such a focal character? How should they rewrite the aspects of the story that include her as a key player? There have, after all, been rumours that General Organa was due to have important scenes not only for her own story arc, but also the stories of her brother Luke Skywalker and son Kylo Ren.
And, importantly, how could they do so in a way that is respectful of the late actor?
Hopefully, the braintrust meeting next week will make the first vital steps in navigating these sensitive and difficult questions.