Mark Hamill offers his thoughts on the late Carrie Fisher appearing in Star Wars: Episode IX. When Lucasfilm recently confirmed the film’s cast, many were surprised to see Fisher’s Leia would return, via unused footage from The Force Awakens. After the actress’ passing in December 2016, there were many questions about Leia’s future in the films. Since the studio started from scratch on Episode IX after her death, some assumed Leia would be written out of the narrative.
Director J.J. Abrams toyed with the idea, but ultimately found it impossible to give the Skywalker saga a fitting conclusion without the fearless Resistance general. It remains to be seen how exactly this idea is executed, but the news seems to be going over well with moviegoers, who are pleased Leia remains an active participant in the story. Her onscreen twin, Hamill, can be counted among those who are happy she’s back.
Unsurprisingly, Hamill always felt there was no way to recast the role of Leia. Fortunately, Abrams felt the same way. For a long time, CGI recreation was taken off the table, but Lucasfilm remained mum on the possibility of another actress inheriting the part. There will be some obvious limitations in using old footage for Leia’s arc, though many would agree this is the best option. There isn’t a thespian out there who could come close to Fisher as Leia (no matter how talented they are), and killing the character offscreen would run the risk of being an unceremonious end for an icon – regardless of how tastefully it was done. Especially since Lucasfilm had more planned for Leia after The Last Jedi, it’s only right she’s returning. That way, Leia can continue to inspire, even though Fisher is no longer around.
While the younger sequel cast of Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Adam Driver (among others) are the main catalysts of the trilogy’s story, Abrams and company are still finding plenty for the old guard to do. Not only are Luke and Leia back, Episode IX sees the long-awaited return of Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian (something Hamill agrees was overdue). The previous two movies in the trilogy gave a veteran a sizable role, so hopefully Episode IX follows suit and doesn’t shortchange a fan-favorite.