Lucasfilm has responded to rumors that it would digitally recreate the late Carrie Fisher in one or both of the two remaining Star Wars episodes. The studio says it has no plans to do so.
"We don’t normally respond to fan or press speculation, but there is a rumor circulating that we would like to address," said the statement, given yesterday afternoon. "We want to assure our fans that Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher’s performance as Princess or General Leia Organa."
Fisher, who portrayed Leia Organa in four Star Wars films, died Dec. 27, 2016 at age 60. Her character had been digitally recreated to have a younger appearance for a brief scene in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which premiered Dec. 16, 2016 and is set in the days leading up to the events of the original 1977 film.
Lucasfilm also used digital tools to bring Grand Moff Tarkin, appearing as he did when played by Peter Cushing in 1977, into several substantial scenes. Cushing died in 1994.
Yesterday, BBC Newsnight reported that the Walt Disney Company, which owns Lucasfilm, was negotiating with Carrie Fisher's estate "over her continued appearance," in Star Wars films. That set off a flurry of speculation about digital recreation, though the BBC's report did not specifically mention that.
Fisher had completed filming for her role as General Leia Organa in Star Wars: Episode VIII, which premieres Dec. 15, 2017. But General Leia Organa was expected to play a key role in Episode IX. That film is due to release in 2019.
Here is Lucasfilm's statement in its entirety:
We don’t normally respond to fan or press speculation, but there is a rumor circulating that we would like to address. 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. 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.