How J.J. Abrams brought Carrie Fisher back for pivotal role in 'Star Wars: The Rise of the Skywalker'

Hanna Flint
Leia plays a pivotal role in Star Wars: The Rise of the Skywalker with Billie Lourd (R) sharing scenes with her late mother (Credit: LucasFilm)

Details of the late Carrie Fisher’s role in Star Wars: The Rise of the Skywalker have been revealed by J.J. Abrams.

The director discussed Episode 9 with Vanity Fair and shared more about General Leia’s involvement in the story and how it was possible following Fisher’s death in 2016.

According to the piece, Abrams used footage shot from The Force Awakens and built scenes and dialogue around it.

“It’s hard to even talk about it without sounding like I’m being some kind of cosmic spiritual goofball,” Abrams says, “but it felt like we suddenly had found the impossible answer to the impossible question.

“It was a bizarre kind of left side/right side of the brain sort of Venn diagram thing, of figuring out how to create the puzzle based on the pieces we had.”

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Carrie Fisher appeared with Mark Hamill in The Last Jedi (Credit: LucasFilm)

Abrams says he added scenes that saw the late Fisher interacting with her daughter Billie Lourd, who appears in the franchise as Lieutenant Connix.

The director had originally wrote Lourd out of these scenes, thinking it would be painful, but the actor said she wanted to be in them.

“I purposely had written her character in scenes without Carrie, because I just didn’t want it to be uncomfortable for her,” Abrams says but Lourd told him, “I want to be in scenes with her. I want it for my children when I have kids. I want them to see.”

“And so, there are moments where they’re talking; there are moments where they’re touching,” Abrams says.

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“There are moments in this movie where Carrie is there, and I really do feel there is an element of the uncanny, spiritual, you know, classic Carrie, that it would have happened this way, because somehow it worked. And I never thought it would.”

After a lukewarm response to the digitally de-aged Fisher as Leia in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the team were reluctant to rely on that technology to bring her back in Episode 9.

“I hope when people see it, they are not thinking about that,” Abrams says. “Of course, some will, but I think it’s one of those things. It sort of goes away after a moment, because it’s not quite a magic trick; it’s sort of more of a trick of editing.”

Star Wars: The Rise of the Skywalker is released on 19 December