Spoilers ahead for The Last Jedi. When the news hit that Carrie Fisher had passed away in December 2016, fans across the globe were left absolutely devastated. The hilarious, talented actor meant to so much to so many, including the countless people who loved watching her as Princess (and then General) Leia in the Star Wars movies. With the release of The Last Jedi, the newest film in the franchise, coming just a year after Fisher's death, fans were left wondering how her character's fate would be handled in the movie, and whether the filmmakers would decide that Leia dies in The Last Jedi. And now that the movie is in theaters, we finally have our answers.
As previously reported, Fisher has a substantial role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, with General Leia appearing in several key scenes throughout the film. This is no surprise, considering that Fisher died after finishing her work on the movie, so she was able to participate in the process as much as her castmates. But because Fisher will not be able to appear in future Star Wars films, the director and writer of The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson, had to decide if the movie would imitate real life and feature Leia's death, or if her absence in the upcoming Episode 9 would be explained in a different way.
And what Johnson went with was an excellent choice. Leia does not die in The Last Jedi, but for much of the movie, her fate is unclear. Relatively early on, an explosion shoots her off into space, and while she manages to return to the ship, she's left unconscious and in critical condition. Eventually, though, she awakens, after feeling the presence and power of her brother, Luke.
Although Leia does survive, as said, she has many moving moments throughout the film that give her closure with several beloved characters. Before Luke sets off to face Kylo Ren, he and Leia get to reunite, and he sweetly kisses his sister forehead. "No one's ever really gone," he tells her, referring both to himself and to Leia's late love Han. Leia also shares great moments with characters like Rey, Holdo (her second-in-command), and Poe Dameron, the troublemaking pilot she can't help but love. In addition, Fisher's daughter, Billie Lourd, is featured in several Last Jedi scenes, often sporting Leia's famous hairstyle.
It's unknown currently how much Leia will feature in the next Star Wars installment, and how that movie's plotline and character interactions will be changed due to Fisher's untimely death. Yet whatever ends up happening, it's so good to see that Fisher gets to have so much screentime in The Last Jedi, and that her iconic character has so many great, enjoyable moments shared with her Star Wars peers. It wouldn't be a Star Wars movie without Leia, and Fisher, as usual, brings so much to the character that it's impossible not to root for her and listen intently during every scene she utters a word.
Still, it's of course so heartbreaking to think of a Star Wars future without Fisher in it, and of more movies within the franchise in which Leia won't get to play a major part (or one at all). Fisher was such an integral part of the Star Wars universe for so many years, and she's missed by millions of people for her talent, wit, activism, and so much more. It's such a huge relief to know that Johnson and the rest of the Star Wars team chose to give her iconic character a worthy exit in The Last Jedi, because, as so many of us know, Fisher deserved absolutely nothing less.