If you've recently been concerned regarding the rumors that Lucasfilm would digitally recreate Carrie Fisher in upcoming Star Wars projects, then you can finally rest easy. As reported by Variety, Lucasfilm released a statement on Jan. 13 reassuring fans that they have "no plans" to digitally recreate Fisher as Princess or General Leia Organa. Here's an excerpt:
As previously reported, Fisher had completed filming scenes as the iconic character for Star Wars: Episode VIII, the next installment of the movie franchise. Following Fisher's untimely death in December, however, rumors began circulating that Disney and Lucasfilm may consider a CGI rendering of her for the ninth Stars Wars film, set to shoot in 2018.
The rumors followed recent controversy concerning the digital recreation of the late Peter Cushing as a way to feature his character, Grand Moff Tarkin, in Rogue One. Speaking of Tarkin's return, director Gareth Edwards told RadioTimes.com in December, "It was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears from [special effects and animation studio] Industrial Light and Magic." Though Disney received permission from the Cushing estate to do so, some online critics debated whether the CGI rendering of Cushing was entirely ethical, necessary, or even effective within the final product.
With that backlash happening in such recent memory, it seemed only natural that fans may be concerned that Fisher would receive the same treatment, if and when her estate approved. So it's an incredible relief to hear, definitively, that there are no plans to do so.
And that isn't just because of ethics or the technical capabilities required in pulling the effect off in a realistic manner, but because Fisher, as a personality and an actor, is completely irreplaceable. There is currently no technology or digital effect capable of even coming close to recreating her efficacious charm, exuberance, and spirit. A digital recreation of Fisher's character wouldn't have just felt hollow and haunting, but it also would've felt almost unethically exploitative of the love that the enormous Star Wars fanbase has for the actor, and for her character. Experiencing a digital facsimile of Fisher so very soon following her death wouldn't have just be in bad taste and extremely morbid, but it would have ultimately been a poor way to pay tribute to such an incredible woman.
Thankfully, as proved by their touching statement regarding the matter, it seems as though Lucasfilm is already well aware of these factors, and acted accordingly in halting the rumors. After all, there are various other ways that a universe as diverse, creative, and colossal as the Star Wars one can still pay tribute to Fisher's legacy without resorting to such tactics.
And whether or not Disney and Lucasfilm decide to honor Fisher's legacy by bidding farewell to General Leia in their own heartfelt way in Star Wars: Episode IX, or by allowing the character to live on through the talents of another actor, is something fans will just have to trust them.
But for now, at least fans can rest content knowing that Fisher, as they knew and loved her, won't be given a fresh, cinematic lease of life within the listless shadow of a digital rendering. In life and on screen, she was much bigger and better than that. And there is absolutely no digital effect advanced enough to capture even the slightest part of what the world loved about Fisher.