Kathleen Kennedy says Star Wars: Episode IX 'started over' after Carrie Fisher's death

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As the world still grapples with the fact that Carrie Fisher is gone, the galaxy far, far away is coming to terms with the loss of its own princess general.

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy tells EW the story team and filmmakers have come up with a plan for how to handle Fisher’s absence in 2019’s planned Star Wars: Episode IX.

The actress won’t be recreated digitally, but unfortunately, that also means Leia Organa won’t be a part of the story.

“Obviously, with Carrie having passed away, it shook everybody,” Kennedy says. As they tried to figure out what this meant for Leia’s continuing story, the only option was to leave their original ideas behind. “We pretty much started over,” Kennedy adds.

RELATED: Watch the trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi

There’s no telling where director Colin Trevorrow and co-writer Derek Connolly (who previously worked together on Jurassic World and Safety Not Guaranteed) will take the story next — partly because we still don’t know where The Last Jedi will depart Leia’s story. (Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger recently said it would not be altered to deal with her passing, ending as it was originally planned.)

Kennedy assures that Fisher’s work on the movie coming Dec. 15 was complete… “and she’s fantastic.”

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Fisher’s brother, Todd, recently told reporters that he and Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, who has a small role in the new Star Wars films as a Resistance officer, granted permission for old footage of her to be used in Episode IX. But Kennedy recently told Good Morning America he may be mistaken. “Sadly, Carrie will not be in nine,” Kennedy said. “But we will see a lot of Carrie in eight.”

The Last Jedi panel at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando featured some images of Leia as a more regal, but also grayer and more world-worn Resistance leader than the “fancy gas-station attendant” (as Fisher described herself) in The Force Awakens.

Leia will live on in animation with the Forces of Destiny series that was just announced, and her stories — including, perhaps, her end — could still be told in the boundless comics, novels, and cartoons being generated from the Star Wars franchise.

It’s heartbreaking to think that the Star Wars universe has seen the last of Leia Organa, who was brave, uncompromising, and inspiring to all who knew her.

Our world lost the same.

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