On Friday, Lucasfilm confirmed that Fisher’s General Leia Organa would make a return appearance in the ninth and final chapter of the Skywalker Saga through “previously unreleased footage shot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Fisher’s daughter, Star Wars actress Billie Lourd, approved of the decision, according to a studio release.
Now, Todd has issued his own statement on the matter.
“I couldn’t be more personally thrilled and happy that our Carrie will reprise her role as Princess Leia in the new and final Star Wars Episode IX, using previously unreleased footage of her shot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” he said, via Variety. “As we, her family, as well as her extended family of fans around the world so believe, Carrie’s Princess Leia is forever entrenched in the franchise and her indelible presence is fundamental to the film. J.J. Abrams understood Carrie’s iconic role, and he has masterfully re-crafted this final entry to include this unused and very last footage of Carrie ever taken, without resorting to CGI or animatronics. Our family and her fans will look forward with great anticipation for this one! Her force will forever be with us!”
Fisher died at the age of 60 in December 2016 after finishing work on Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy had previously told EW “we pretty much started over” with Episode IX after Fisher’s death. Even more definitively, she said at the time, “Sadly, Carrie will not be in nine.” Things, however, appear to have changed.
As Abrams, who’s directing the next film, said in a new statement, “We desperately loved Carrie Fisher. Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker Saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast, or use a CG character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie, we have found a way to honor Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII.”
Veteran Star Wars actors Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), and Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) will also return for Episode IX, along with Lourd (Lieutenant Connix), Daisy Ridley (Rey), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico), and Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca).
Newcomers to the cast include Keri Russell, Naomi Ackie, and Richard E. Grant.
Star Wars: Episode IX is scheduled for theaters on Dec. 20, 2019.