By Travis Johnson

There’s been a lot of debate and conjecture over the past few days about how Disney and Lucasfilm might handle the character of Princess (or General, if you prefer) Leia Organa following the tragic death of actress, Carrie Fisher. Word circulated through the film journalism community that the studio was negotiating with Fisher’s estate for the rights to her image in order to digitally recreate her for Star Wars Episode IX – we reported on it here.

As it turns out, all that was baseless. Lucasfilm have issued an official statement, putting the kibosh on the notion of a computer-born Carrie Fisher appearing in the future.

“We don’t normally respond to fan or press speculation, but there is a rumor circulating that we would like to address. We want to assure our fans that Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher’s performance as Princess or General Leia Organa.

Carrie Fisher was, is, and always will be a part of the Lucasfilm family. She was our princess, our general, and more importantly, our friend. We are still hurting from her loss. We cherish her memory and legacy as Princess Leia, and will always strive to honor everything she gave to Star Wars.”

Honestly? Bless ’em. This must be an unimaginably difficult time for all involved, on personal, professional, and creative levels, and the use of CGI avatars in Rogue One made the question about how recent events might be handled in the future an obvious and uncomfortable one. There are a lot of factors to consider, most of them invovling the notion of legacy – both Fisher’s and the Star Wars franchise as a whole, and it would be difficult to cast aspersions if they did decide to throw a lot of processing power at the issue – there is a lot at stake.

The choice made, however – or at least the removal of that option from the list of possibilities – feels like the high road, if not necessarily the easiest one. The scrutiny on a Star Wars film is already ridiculously high – now it’s completely off the scale, and that’s not going to make anyone’s job easier. Still,  bravo, Disney and Lucasfilm – this is the right decision.


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