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April 17, 2017

What to do with a Princess?

by Reggie's Take

We’ve heard a lot about what will or will not happen with Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia after “The Last Jedi”, but one option has not been officially dealt with. What is it?

Shortly after the passing of Carrie Fisher in late December, Lucasfilm publicly announced the character of Leia would not be digitally recreated as it was in Rogue One for episode nine. Most everyone was on board with that decision, as was I.

Lucasfilm also said there would be no rewrite nor would there be any re-shoots or reediting of “The Last Jedi” in order to take into account Carrie Fisher’s untimely death. The story they had written and filmed would remain intact.

Then in early April a week or so before Star Wars Celebration in Orlando, Florida, Todd Fisher, Carrie’s brother told the New York Daily News that the family had given Disney and Lucafilm permission to use unused footage of Carrie as Leia from “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi” in order for her to appear in episode nine.

Now we get to Star Wars Celebration in Orlando, celebrating the franchises 40th anniversary and the passing of Carrie. A beautiful tribute was done during the 40th Anniversary panel on Thursday and Mark Hamill’s touching tribute during his panel on Friday were done with such taste and respect you had to be inhumane not to be moved.

Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy on Friday did an interview with ABC News and the reporter doing the interview brought up what Todd Fisher had said about the use of unused footage.

This is what Kathleen Kennedy said.

“He was probably confused, because we finished everything in eight and Carrie is absolutely phenomenal in the movie and we’re so happy that we were able to complete shooting in the summer. Unfortunately Carrie passed away and so by the time we were well underway with episode nine in our thoughts we had not written script yet, but we’ve regrouped, we started over again in January, so sadly Carrie will not be in nine. We will see a lot of her in eight which is great.”

So what will Lucasfilm not be doing for episode nine? We know they won’t be digitally recreating Carrie Fisher as General Leia. Why? If you’ve seen Rogue One then you know exactly why, but if you haven’t the last shot of the movie shows a younger digitally recreated Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia being handed the plans to the Death Star. Disney and Lucasfilm were quick to rule that option out shortly after her death and it was a smart move on their part.

Rogue One A Star Wars Story / Lucasfilm / 2016

Why was it smart? It immediately removed any and all speculation that fans and critics alike would be speculating on if this were how Lucasfilm would continue Leia’s story line moving forward.

The digital recreation of Leia and Tarkin was fine for Rogue One. Both characters were nothing more then side characters that may of added up to ten to twelve minutes of screen time and for that amount doing such characters digitally worked. To do so for a major character with a major role and tons of screen time in episode nine, not so much.

Rogue One A Star Wars Story / Lucasfilm / 2016

The second option we know won’t happen is the use of unused footage from “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi”. As mentioned earlier in this post Carrie Fisher’s brother Todd Fisher said the family had given Lucasfilm permission and in the interview with ABC News, Kathleen Kennedy said that was not the case and Todd was mistaken.

To be honest I’m okay with this decision as well. Now granted I’m not a Hollywood film maker and I don’t have the skills with a computer like ILM, but I would think it would be a little limiting to write scenes involving Leia from words she spoke intended to be used for a different movie.

Now this is where some of you reading this may or may not agree with me.

If you listen or read what Kathleen Kennedy said in her interview with ABC News she never said the word Leia or refer to the character either appearing or not appearing in episode nine, just Carrie’s name.

“Sadly Carrie will not be in nine. We will see a lot of her in eight which is great.”

What exactly was she (Kennedy) referring to when she said that last sentence?

Some could interpret it as an all encompassing meaning that both Carrie Fisher and her character of Leia will not be seen, but if that was the case then why not just come out and say that?

I believe Kathleen Kennedy was very careful to only say Carrie’s name and intentionally made sure not to say Leia would NOT be appearing in episode nine, but just that of Carrie herself.

Kennedy is the head of Lucasfilm and the last thing you want to do is to back yourself into a corner by limiting your director and writers behind episode nine and say that Leia will not be seen. She knows as well as anybody you have to leave yourself a few options.

So if Lucasfilm and Kathleen Kennedy won’t be reusing unused footage for episode nine and your not going to digitally recreate her then you’re only really leaving yourself one option.

What is that option? Brace yourself…recasting.

I realize to some just the thought of recasting for the role, let alone mentioning the idea may go against some religious believe and considered unthinkable, but it could very well be the option they are looking at.

Before you go leaving me a comment telling me that they are going to kill off Leia by the end of “The Last Jedi”, consider this.

“Unfortunately Carrie passed away and so by the time we were well underway with episode nine in our thoughts we had not written script yet, but we’ve regrouped, we started over again in January”

If you wish to believe that they actually kill Leia in “The Last Jedi”, why would they need to regroup and start over with episode nine? They wouldn’t. I’m willing to bet that Luke has a better chance of dying before episode nine than Leia.

The only other option if they don’t recast for the part is to kill the character of Leia off screen between movies. In my mind that seems like the cheap and easy way out in handling Carrie Fisher’s death and the character of Leia.

If you don’t kill off Leia in between movies, then they would have to say Leia is off somewhere else in the Galaxy and this too would also seem like a cheap way out. The character of Leia has always been the tough leader wanting to lead the charge and to say she is somewhere else while the fate of the Republic, The First Order not to mention her son Kylo Ren are coming to a conclusion doesn’t make sense either.

Although recasting would not be the popular choice it does seem like an option Lucasfilm and Kathleen Kennedy are keeping on the table for now. It also gives them the most options in how to move forward after the death of Carrie Fisher and the character of Leia.

If they should recast the role then in my opinion they should find a lesser-known actor for the part so it does not distract from the obvious. They should also reduce the role of Leia down to what’s needed for the story and the character and not necessarily a major role.

Does this mean I’m in favor of recasting for the role of Leia? At this particular point and time I can’t say yes and I can’t say no. I will need to see how “The Last Jedi” ends before making my final decision.

I can understand those who would be against such an idea to put another actress on screen in that role. You would feel they are disrespecting the character and Carrie herself not to mention it would feel weird to watch somebody else play such a beloved character in a franchise loved by so many.

I realize that some of you if not a majority of you will disagree with the points I brought up and that’s fine. Some of you may actually agree and that’s fine to.

What ever decision Lucasfilm and Kathleen Kennedy decided to go with it will be debated with passion if it was the right or wrong decision.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree or disagree? Comment below and let me know. I do ask that any comments left be respectful.

If you didn’t see the tribute video they did for Carrie Fisher at Star Wars Celebration you can check it out below.

May the force be with you!!

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