Carrie Fisher’s death shocked fans of the Star Wars franchise and many are still saddened by the development. However, now that time has passed and people are coming to terms with the reality, it appears it’s time to figure out what the heck to do about the franchise. While most of Carrie Fisher’s work on Star Wars: Episode VIII has been completed, there’s still an entire movie left to make, and now they need to figure what to do with it.
The death of Carrie Fisher was heartbreaking, but the fact is that she was a key actress in a billion dollar movie franchise. As such, her death is also a worst case scenario for Disney and Lucasfilm. However, now that the scenario has come to pass, it appears the studios are now planning meetings in order to review options and make a plan. According to The Hollywood Reporter Colin Trevorrow, the director of Star Wars: Episode IX will be flying to Lucasfilm January 10 to take meetings with Kathleen Kennedy to go over their available options.
The good news is that they have time. The current release date set for Star Wars: Episode IX is May of 2019. We’ve also seen that Disney isn’t afraid to shift release dates when necessary, as they did with Episode VIII and may end up doing with the Han Solo spinoff film. It’s possible that could be needed, as the most obvious of the potential responses to not having Carrie Fisher is to rewrite the script of Episode IX in order to remove General Leia’s scenes entirely.
There is, of course, at least one other option. As Rogue One: A Star Wars Story showed us, it is possible to make a fairly believable version of a character entirely through CGI effects. Last month’s film brought Peter Cushing back from the dead and even gave us 1970s era Carrie Fisher once again. It’s likely that if they make the decision to go that route there might still be some script rewriting. Depending on the planned size of Carrie Fisher’s part in Star Wars: Episode IX, it might need to be reduced so that CGI is only needed to recreate a supporting character, not a major lead. Regardless of how good you thought the Rogue One CGI was, we can probably all agree it’s not ready to be used in leading roles quite yet.
Of course just because they could recreate General Leia via digital effects, doesn’t mean they should. A decision like that will certainly be viewed by some fans as an insult to the memory of Carrie Fisher. It’s possible that just rewriting the script could be the best option, even if it complicates things more.