A CGI General Leia would have been the worst idea ever for Star Wars Episode 9

Mike P Williams
Carrie Fisher owning it as Princess Leia [Image via Lucasfilm]
Carrie Fisher owning it as Princess Leia – Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney

It shouldn’t even be up for debate, but after ‘Rogue One’ people have been talking about what happens after the sad and sudden death of Carrie Fisher. Uncomfortably, some outlets were even publishing articles questioning Fisher’s future role within hours of her death because, well, clickbait.

Indeed, Lucasfilm (and Disney) respectfully left discussion over the fate of General (and former Princess) Leia until now, releasing a statement saying that ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’ nor any other movie will feature a computer generated Leia, and rightly so.

StarWars.com surprised everyone when they actually commented on the matter, laying to bed any rumours and speculation on the ever-growing debate;

“We don’t normally respond to fan or press speculation, but there is a rumour 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.”

The decision to have opted for a CGI Leia would have been hugely controversial, not just because it’d be way too disrespectfully soon after the icon’s death, but because ‘realistic’ CGI characters simply do not work yet. The industry may be advancing at a jaw-dropping rate, but ‘Rogue One’ proved that even the most powerful technology cannot convincingly bring someone back to life.

Could this be Grand Moff Tarkin? - Credit: Lucasfilm
Do we see too much of Grand Moff Tarkin in ‘Rogue One’? – Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney

The choice to CGi Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin – an actor that has been dead since 1994 – was undeniably bold, especially with the amount of screentime and dialogue that was on offer. However, there was something still rather odd about witnessing his resurrection to the big screen. Something didn’t feel quite right; there was an unnatural aesthetic that cannot be replicated by special effects. Dare I say, we all had a bad feeling about it.

Similarly the briefest of cameos we witness at the film’s closing with Princess Leia felt even more artificial, even though it’s a surprise that swirls a number of emotions around your head, thus distracting from critically acknowledging that, in truth, it’s not all that convincing.

It’s reassuring that in a movie-making age where no property or franchise is sacred and that money is all execs tend to focus on, that they’ve publicly quashed any need for further discussion on the will she, won’t she chatter.

A step too far with ‘Rogue One’s’ CGI Leia? – Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney

No doubt that if the decision to go ahead and CGI Leia into ‘Episode IX’ had been approved it would have caused a lot of upset and outrage within the fan base, that’s for sure.

We will, however, get to see Fisher reprise the role of Leia Organa one final time in ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’ as she had already completed her scheduled shoots earlier in 2016. It will be a film that bears mixed emotions amongst moviegoers though: on one hand there’s undeniable excitement to see the latest ‘Star Wars’ epic; but on the other, we’re hugely aware that it’s Fisher’s swansong, which will surely serve as a poignant farewell.

‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’ is in UK cinemas from 15 December, 2017.

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