Farewell, Princess Leia. Lucasfilm said in a statement on Friday, January 13, that it won't be digitally re-creating the late Carrie Fisher's beloved character in the yet-to-be-filmed Stars Wars movie.
"We don't normally respond to fan or press speculation, but there is a rumor circulating that we would like to address," the production company wrote in a statement posted on StarWars.com. "We want to assure our fans that Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher’s performance as Princess or General Leia Organa."
"Carrie Fisher was, is, and always will be a part of the Lucasfilm family," the statement continued. "She was our princess, our general, and more importantly, our friend. We are still hurting from her loss. We cherish her memory and legacy as Princess Leia, and will always strive to honor everything she gave to Star Wars."
As Us Weekly previously reported, Fisher died on December 27 at the age of 60, days after she suffered a massive heart attack during a flight from London to Los Angeles. Her mother, screen legend Debbie Reynolds, died after suffering a stroke the following day.
The Princess Diarist author, who played Princess Leia in the first three Star Wars films, reprised her role (as General Leia Organa) in 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Fisher had already completed filming on Star Wars: Episode VIII, which is currently in postproduction and is due out later this year.
After her sudden death, fans began speculating online about whether she would be digitally added to the upcoming Episode IX, which is due out in 2019.
Her character was briefly seen in the recently released Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The film ends minutes before the original 1977 Star Wars film, Episode IV — A New Hope, begins, and producers used a combination of live action (with a stand-in actress) and digital effects to re-create the younger version of the princess. (The late Peter Cushing's Grand Moff Tarkin was also re-created for the film.)
After being criticized for the move, John Knoll, the veteran special effects wizard who came up with the idea, says Fisher gave "her permission and blessing" for the move.
"She knew about it," he told Yahoo Movies. "[Lucasfilm president] Kathy Kennedy managed the relationship with Carrie, so I didn’t talk with her directly about it. But [Fisher] saw a work in progress, saw a finished result, and she loved it. Kathy called me right after she showed it to [Fisher] and said how fantastic she thought it was. So she was very much in favor of it."
Fisher was reportedly expected to have a large role in Episode IX, which is set to begin shooting next year. The status of the script and Disney's and Lucasfilm's plans for her character are unknown.
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