Unused footage of the actress, who died in 2016, will complete Leia's story

It’s nice to see her again.

The team behind Star Wars: Episode IX gave us our first glimpse of Carrie Fisher‘s curtain call as General Leia Organa, using previously shot footage to conclude the character’s story.

During the Episode IX panel at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago, Abrams said he and co-screenwriter Chris Terrio (Argo) discussed “how to move on.”

“It was impossible. There was no way. What are you gonna do? You can’t recast that part, and you’re not just going to have her disappear,” Abrams said. He called it a near miracle that there were unused scenes of her from The Force Awakens.

Credit: Lucasfilm

“The idea was what if we could write scenes around her, so she could be in the movie, and we have her performance,” he said. “Every day it hits me that she’s not here, but it’s so surreal because we’re working with her still. She’s in scenes.”

He added, “Princess Leia lives in this film in a way that is kind of mind-blowing to me.”

We’ve known ever since the original casting announcement that director J.J. Abrams planned to use cutting-room scenes to include Leia in the film, ensuring her iconic character would get a conclusion after the firebrand actress died unexpectedly in December 2016.

Fans got a hint about what those unused scenes might contain, with Poe Dameron’s portrayer Oscar Isaac saying they would deepen the relationship between Leia and his X-wing pilot.

In an interview last month on Sirius XM Insight, Isaac said he was glad the footage they shot long ago during the making of The Force Awakens would finally be seen.

“I wasn’t surprised because I remember we were doing that, we worked a lot,” Isaac said. “[Fisher] and I worked together so much. We would talk about the scenes, and we got very tight during the shooting of that. So it was a beautiful thing to see, and it gets carried over into the new film as well.”

Star Wars Celebration Episode IX Panel screen grab

Even Fisher’s brother Todd revealed that he was surprised by how much material there was and how moving the narrative would be.

“There’s a lot of minutes of footage. I don’t mean just outtakes,” Todd Fisher told Good Morning America back in December. “This is unused, new content that could be woven into the storyline. That’s what’s going to give everybody such a great kick. It’s going to look like it was meant to be. Like it was shot yesterday.”

Fisher often called herself “the custodian of Leia.” She’s still watching out for her…

And giving Death the middle figure by returning to the screen one more time.

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