Huge news for Star Wars fans broke this weekend, when J.J. Abrams announced details for Episode IX on the franchise's official website. Among the blog post's many headline items was Abrams' decision to bring back General Leia Organa for the next film. Fortunately, Carrie Fisher's brother Todd Fisher approved of her role in Star Wars Episode IX and released a statement confirming that to Variety and Deadline on Saturday, July 28.
His message works in harmony with that of Abrams from the Friday press release, which explored the director's intentions to use unseen footage from The Force Awakens (which he also directed) in the upcoming movie. Todd's statement to Variety and Deadline proves that Carrie's family has confidence in Abrams, now that the actor's brother and daughter Billie Lourd have both approved of the decision.
"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," Todd's message began, "Her indelible presence is fundamental to the film."
Per Variety, his statement continued:
"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!"
This complements Abrams' statement on the official Star Wars website. When the casting announcements were made on July 27, Abrams discussed at length his plan to bring back Billy Dee Williams and Mark Hamill for the upcoming Star Wars film.
His decision to incorporate the late Carrie Fisher could have been met with criticism, which is likely why he opened the message with an explanation. “We desperately loved Carrie Fisher. Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us," Abrams' statement on the Star Wars website began. It continued:
"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.”
Obviously, Carrie's family agreed with Abrams on the most significant points: That General Leia Organa is essential to the Star Wars universe, and that a computer-generated version of the actor would do disservice to Carrie's work. It's a decision that works for everyone, so hopefully — hopefully — fans will be okay with it. After all, the footage of Leia already exists, and she was being directed by the same person (Abrams) who is taking over Episode IX.
Considering the Disney/Star Wars budget and Abrams' considerable experience, it's likely that the film will be able to pull this off seamlessly. It's also a much better option than a fake version of the actor, or using dialogue that's cut and pasted from her work in The Force Awakens. It may seem like a bold move, but according to Carrie Fisher's family and the Star Wars Episode IX director, it's a necessary one for preserving the movie's integrity. If the plan is good enough for them, it should be enough to work for everyone.