During Star Wars Celebration on Friday, April 12, director J.J. Abrams addressed how the ninth and final movie of the original Star Wars saga will feature Fisher’s General Leia Organa three years after her death.
“We couldn’t [fill the void],” Abrams, 52, told host Stephen Colbert at the annual event. “We all talked about how to move on. I mean, she was the best. She was glorious. She was amazing, and we all just loved her.”
Abrams then explained that using a CG character “was off the table – we never even wanted to try.” So what else could they do?
He continued: “It was impossible. You don’t recast that part, and you don’t suddenly have her disappear. The weird miracle of having had a number of scenes from Force Awakens that had gone unused, looking at those scenes and starting to understand that there was actually a way to use those scenes to continue her story so that it would be her.”
The Star Trek director revealed that he gets emotional every day when it hits him again and again that she’s not here. “It’s so surreal because we are working with her still, if that makes sense. She’s in scenes, she’s so alive in scenes,” he said. “And the craziest part is how, not crazy it feels. She is there in these scenes. In some scenes, with Billie [Lourd], her daughter, who is in the movies as well. Princess Leia lives in this film in a way that is kind of mind-blowing to me.”
Fisher died of a heart attack in December 2016 at age 60.
Star Wars: Episode IX, in which the title was revealed as The Rise of Skywalker, also stars Mark Hamill, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac. It’s expected to hit theaters December 20, 2019. Watch the first trailer above!