Star Wars Celebration in Orlando kicked off last week with an epic panel that celebrated the franchise's 40th Anniversary. It included a heartwarming tribute to the late Carrie Fisher. The next day, LucasFilm president Kathleen Kennedy joined director Rian Johnson for the Star Wars: The Last Jedi panel, celebrating what will ultimately be one of Carrie Fisher's last movies. Both the LucasFilm president and director paid tribute to the late actress in their own way, and Rian Johnson revealed that she even helped him write the Last Jedi script.
During the first half of the panel, hosted by Josh Gad, fans got to see a number of The Last Jedi behind-the-scenes photos that were taken by Rian Johnson on the set, one of which featured Carrie Fisher in full costume, with her feet up on a desk between takes, alongside Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron) and John Boyega (Finn). Josh Gad then asked the director what it was like to work with Carrie Fisher, who, as many know, was a celebrated writer and script doctor for many years in Hollywood. Here's what the filmmaker had to say, revealing how he first "connected" to the actress as a writer.
"It was such a moving tribute... I don't know if I can add to that. I love her so much, I just adore her. I connected with her first and foremost as a writer. She's a brilliant writer, with an incredible mind. I'd go to her house and we'd sit on her bed for hours, going through the script. (We) would just have these kind of stream-of-consciousness, Jazz poetry, ad-lib sessions, and I would just scribble down everything she said on my script. And then at the end of six hours, there would be this four word line of dialogue that would be the distillation of all that, that was brilliant."
Aside from playing Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher was quite the accomplished writer, penning both the book and the screenplay adaptation for Postcards From the Edge, along with episodes of Roseanne, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, a number of TV specials and special material for the Academy Awards in 1997, 2002 and 2007, along with the 2010 TV documentary Wishful Drinking. Among the Hollywood system, though, she was even better known as an uncredited script doctor, with George Lucas hiring her to polish the prequel trilogy scripts. She also worked as a script doctor on films such as Hook, Sister Act, The Last Action Hero, The Wedding Singer and Scream 3. Here's what LucasFilm president Kathleen Kennedy had to say about working with Carrie Fisher in Star Wars 8.
"It was extraordinary, needless to say. Carrie is remarkable in the movie. What Rian wrote, and the performance she ends up giving, I think you guys are going to find that an amazing tribute to her talent."
There were reports that the recent Star Wars 8 reshoots paid tribute to Carrie Fisher, and it was also confirmed that she won't appear in Star Wars: Episode IX. That confirmation wasn't terribly surprising, since LucasFilm released a statement in response to a recent rumor that the studio would use a digital version, but there have been reports that she still had two important scenes to film over the last two movies, her reunion with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and her confrontation with her nefarious son Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). While we wait for more on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, take a look at the Star Wars Celebration panel below, with the Carrie Fisher talk coming at the 23:25 mark.