Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker director J.J. Abrams and the teams at Disney and Lucasfilm confirmed they will not digitally render the late Carrie Fisher into the movie, but they will incorporate unused footage shot from the latest trilogy of Star Wars films.
Fisher, forever our Princess turned General Leia Organa, died of cardiac arrest on December 27, 2016, four days after suffering a medical emergency during a flight from London to Los Angeles.
In an inspiring move, Skywalker will also feature scenes including Fisher and her daughter, Billie Lourd.
"I purposely had written her character in scenes without Carrie, because I just didn't want it to be uncomfortable for her."
The director recalled Lourd becoming emotionally overwhelmed to the point of temporarily excusing herself.
The 26-year-old actress had just suffered the loss of her mother and Fisher's mother, actress Debbie Reynolds, within a day of each other.
"I know it was hard for her for a while."
Despite her grieving period, Lourd insisted that Lieutenant Connix and Princess Leia have scenes together.
She told the director:
"I want to be in scenes with her. I want it for my children when I have kids. I want them to see."
Audiences are already reaching for their tissues months before the film's release on December 20.
The Skywalker team wrote around Fisher's existing footage and Abrams described the editing process as a:
"bizarre kind of left side/right side of the brain sort of Venn diagram thing, of figuring out how to create the puzzle based on the pieces we had."
Fisher's posthumous presence somehow works in the world of the epic space opera. The films in the past featured cameos from departed characters like Obi-Wan, Anakin and Yoda as apparitions imparting their words of wisdom to Luke Skywalker.
Abrams was skeptical at first but realized everything coming together was thanks to "Classic Carrie."
"There is an element of the uncanny, spiritual, you know. Classic Carrie, that it would have happened this way because somehow it worked. And I never thought it would."
The Rise of Skywalker is part of the Star Wars sequel trilogy and will be the final installment in the main Star Wars nine film franchise.
May the force be strong with us as we witness Fisher's final performance in movie theaters.