Once the world stopped mourning Carrie Fisher’s untimely death last December, the focus turned to how the Star Wars franchise—which she was still very much a part of—would deal with the sudden loss. We knew that Fisher had already wrapped on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but it was unclear if her character was intended to appear in Episode 9.
Fans initially worried that the filmmakers would turn to CGI to recreate her likeness, a technique that was used in Rogue One in order to depict a younger Princess Leia. But after Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy put an end to that speculation by confirming that Fisher would not appear in Episode 9, the reality that The Last Jedi would be her final performance on screen as Leia, or anyone else for that matter, started to sink in.
Now thanks to an interview John Boyega gave to ABC News, we have some insight into how the filmmakers chose to deal with what should figure to be one of the film’s (and franchise’s) emotional peaks.
“This movie, it sends her off in an amazing, amazing way,” Boyega said. “And she is still kept alive in this franchise. That’s the beauty of it: She lives forever in a sense.”
Although Kennedy has insisted that The Last Jedi was not altered to accommodate Fisher’s death, it’s hard to believe that director Rian Johnson didn’t pivot in some way, especially considering that she was supposed to be brought back for the trilogy’s final installment.
This is a decidedly different scenario than the one that befell the makers of Furious 7 after the death of Paul Walker, who passed away before he finished shooting his scenes. The filmmakers had to use a combination of Walker’s brother as a stand-in and digital effects to complete the film. While the pall of Walker’s death hung over the film, they managed to strike a careful balance of plot continuity and emotional goodbye. Here’s hoping Star Wars: The Last Jedi does the same.