The upcoming Star Wars sequel The Rise of Skywalker will not only bring the decade-spanning Skywalker saga to a historical end, but will also feature the last big screen appearance of actress Carrie Fisher and her iconic character Leia Organa. Due to the actress' untimely death in 2016, the makers of the The Rise of Skywalker have had to get creative in order for her role to be anywhere near as substantial as planned, with many fans believing it will have been reduced to a mere cameo.

Thankfully, director J.J. Abrams is here to put our minds at ease, with an assurance that Leia's role is very significant, even comparable to the roles of Han Solo and Luke Skywalker in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi respectively.

"Clearly we would have done other things had Carrie, been around, but I will say despite her not being with us anymore, her presence in the movie is not inconsequential. She's not being 'added in' so that she's in the movie. And I would say that her story, her role, the importance of Leia, I would argue is as profound as what you're saying even though she wasn't here."

These are some very welcome comments from Abrams, as it is now well known that the planned pattern had always been for each new movie in the trilogy to focus on one of the original characters, with The Rise of Skywalker all set to be Leia's movie. Abrams continues to assert her importance to the story, and that the idea to write her death into the opening scrawl was quickly dismissed.

"There was no way, as I've said before, to tell the story without Leia. She's too important. It's Skywalker saga. She is the living Skywalker in our story. You don't want to start the story and say something happened to her in between movies. It didn't feel right. We'd never recast it. A digital Leia wouldn't work. There was no way to do it."

Though we will not know exactly how much Leia fits into the story until we have seen the final movie, there were no limits to Abrams' creativity, and he has even waded through footage from The Force Awakens in order to give Leia's finale the respect it deserves.

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"When we looked at the footage from [Star Wars: ]The Force Awakens, which I was obviously very familiar with, and realized we had a number of scenes we could use, and, and write scenes around, it was suddenly like, 'Oh my God, we could tell the story with Leia in the film.'"

At the end of the day, the circumstances facing the creative team behind The Rise of Skywalker were very difficult to navigate, and in a perfect world Carrie Fisher would still be with us, but it is reassuring to know that they have done everything they can to bring Carrie Fisher and Leia's ending to a close as satisfactorily as possible.

"Obviously we did everything we could with the material that we had. I would have loved to have done other things too, but I feel lucky that we got to do what we could."

How well Leia's ending has been achieved, and how significant her role will be in The Rise of Skywalker remains to be seen, but hopefully we will all come away from the movie more than satisfied when the movie hits cinemas on December 20. This comes to us from Cinemablend.

Jon Fuge at Movieweb
Jon Fuge