Carrie Fisher’s tragic passing in 2016 rocked Star Wars Nation to the core, not only because her death would fundamentally change the narrative of the final new Star Wars movie, but also because she was just a fascinating and very honest human that the world fell in love with over 40 years ago. She’s an icon, plain and simple.
With that being said, her death has affected the original plot of Star Wars: Episode IX, which her character General Leia was supposed to be featured prominently in. Han got The Force Awakens, Luke got The Last Jedi, so it made sense that Leia would get the most screen time for an original cast member in Episode IX. That scenario has long been jettisoned now that J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio have had to essentially re-write the entire script for the final film in this new trilogy to account for Fisher’s death. Considering that the powers-at-be at Disney and Lucasfilm have said that Leia will not be created with CG like Tarkin was in Rogue One, Abrams and Terrio only really have two options. In fact, I wrote an editorial on these options and where I think they’ll take Leia in Episode IX, because I’m very intrigued with how her absence will be handled.
It appears that I’m not the only one who has wondered how Leia will be handled moving forward, because in a recent interview with Collider, Mark Hamill shed some light on his thoughts for how Leia should be handled. Hamill said:
“First of all, I don’t know what the specific plans were for that character, but just the way Han Solo was more prominent in 7, Luke was more prominent in 8, we assumed that Leia would be more prominent in 9, especially since the dynamic of having Kylo Ren as her son… I think it would be tough recasting, only because she’s so indelibly linked with that character. They’ve already ruled out the idea of computer-generating her performance like they did with Peter Cushing, so, gee, that’s gotta be a really… not an insurmountable problem, but I know the script had been developed enough that when we lost her, they had to go back to square one. But she’s irreplaceable, as far as I’m concerned.”
Quite frankly, I agree with him, even though that means that we will probably be treated to an off-screen death of the character, and as we’ve explained on the Star Wars Time show in the past, there’s a good chance she’ll be killed off in the opening crawl, with a potential funeral scene to start the film.
Although, there’s a new movement in Star Wars Land to get the role of Leia recast, and the Internet wants Meryl Streep to take over the Leia reigns. There is a part of me that feels like Streep could pull it off and honor the character, but there’s a bigger part of me that still feels that seeing anyone else playing Leia outside of Carrie Fisher would be border line sacrilegious. Streep is a legend, and with some makeup I don’t doubt that she could almost channel the look of Fisher, but I’m just not sure she could channel her soul, which we all know was as unique as it gets. If you want to voice your opinion on the matter, there’s an actual petition going around with over 10,000 signatures, so there is a bit of a movement within the Star Wars community for Streep as Leia.