Spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Of the original three main characters of the Star Wars saga, Han Solo bit the dust in The Force Awakens. Now The Last Jedi has taken out another hero, Luke Skywalker. And in reality, we actually have lost Carrie Fisher, the beloved, ballsy actor who played Princess-turned-General Leia Organa all these decades. Knowing that Fisher isn't around to act in 2019's Star Wars: Episode 9, LucasFilm, and director J.J. Abrams, are going to have to handle the lack of Leia in some way; hopefully in a satisfying and respectable one. And these theories about Leia's role in Episode 9 hint at many ways the filmmakers could handle Fisher's tragic death.
The actor's passing altered the next movie's plans in a big way. Since Han Solo was such a large presence in The Force Awakens, and Luke Skywalker was a big factor in The Last Jedi, it was only natural that Leia was going to be a major player in Episode 9. Losing Leia is going to be one of the hardest things that Star Wars fans are going to have to experience in this franchise. But how will the filmmakers do it? Will Leia not appear in Episode 9 at all? Or will they find a way to work it out? And if she is in it, what kind of character developments can we expect? Here are some theories.
They'll Utilize Unused Footage
Everyone knows that movies shoot a lot and cut a lot, so there might be a ton of unused footage of Leia that didn't end up in either The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi. There's been some confusion about whether or not Fisher or Leia will even appear in Episode 9, with LucasFilm releasing a statement that they wouldn't be using CGI to recreate her, and Fisher's brother Todd saying that he and Billie Lourd gave them permission to use whatever footage they had of her. Then LucasFilm president Kathleen Kennedy said that Todd must have been confused. It's still unclear what their plan is, but if she's not in the movie at all...
They'll Kill Her Off-Screen
This one would be a total bummer and, in my opinion, really disrespectful to the character of Leia. There's a moment in The Last Jedi when you think they've killed off Leia. But, as we now know, Leia survives to the end and finally gets a serious moment to use her Force powers, which makes for an incredible revelation and an awesome scene. But she's also one of the most important characters in the Star Wars universe, so having some kind of accident or battle off-screen wherein she dies would be a total cop-out. For that same reason, it would be super lame for Episode 9 to have some kind of throw away line referencing that "General Organa is off forming the new government," or some nonsense. Leia deserves better. So hopefully they'll decide that Leia has to be in the movie somehow. And if so, what will happen?
She'll Hand Over The Rebellion To Poe Dameron
Poe has a few missteps in The Last Jedi. He's hotheaded, impulsive, and questions the authority of Leia and Admiral Holdo a bit too much. But he learns a lot of lessons as well, and that's important for a new leader. There's a scene towards the end of the movie when the rebels are trapped in a cave and Poe decides to lead the way to safety. Everyone turns to look at Leia for instruction, but she responds by saying, "What are you looking at me for? Follow him!" Sounds like Poe might be the new Rebel Alliance General in Episode 9.
She'll Reunite With Ben
There's a tense moment in The Last Jedi when Kylo Ren has the opportunity to kill his mother, but he doesn't take the shot. That means there's still some light left inside of him... maybe. If Ben and Leia have a reunion, it's bound to be an dramatic one, and perhaps Leia will be the one to end Kylo Ren's reign as Supreme Leader and kill her own son.
She'll Embrace Rey As Her Daughter
Even if Rey isn't Leia and Han's biological child, both Luke and Leia have been significant parental figures for the young woman, who was left on a desert planet as an orphan. With her son lost to the dark side, and Rey all she has left, there's a definite chance that Leia may just adopt Rey, in a sense, and keep the Force in the family.
Whatever happens, it's going to be super hard to have to bid our beloved Princess Leia-turned-General Organa farewell. She's been one of the most powerful female characters in an incredibly important sci-fi film franchise, and both she, and the wonderful woman who played her, will go down in history as a legend.