When Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker went into production, it was confirmed by director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm that they would be utilizing unseen footage from both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi to cobble together one final performance from Carrie Fisher as General Leia. Now, a new rumor claims that the movie is using much more than just deleted footage, though it is still not going to recreate Leia digitally as Rogue One did with a young Carrie Fisher and Peter Cushing as Wilhuff Tarkin.
This latest leak claims that J.J. Abrams and his team are actually going to recycle previously used clips from The Force Awakens to help bring Carrie Fisher back to life for this afterlife performance. Fisher passed away in December 2016, after having finished The Last Jedi. She was supposed to have an even bigger role in The Rise of Skywalker, so instead of killing her off in the time jump between the previous sequel and this new installment, the Lucasfilm team decided to dust off some never before seen deleted scenes to help craft new scenes featuring General Leia.
Early on, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy made it clear that they would not digitally recreate Carrie Fisher for new scenes featuring the princess. But they will be digitally manipulating whatever available footage they can to create these new scenes in order to have a consistent story that makes sense. The leaker says this about how Leia is really being brought back from the dead.
"They are combining clips. There will also be no horrible digi-double that was used for Leia in Rogue One. This is all being done in what we call "comp." There will be some digital work done (aging, hair) so her face and body match, but not the uncanny valley like Tarkin in Rogue One. They will be changing her hair or adding wrinkles as she looked very different between TFA and TLJ. Only using deleted scenes would have limited what Abrams and co-writer Chris Terrio could do with Leia in the movie. Now while they may be re-using existing shots of Fisher from The Force Awakens, they are adding effects to them, including aging, lighting, and hair changes. This observation falls right in line with what my contact told me about how they are handling varying parts of Fisher as well as the environment (background) they put her in. To summarize, we now know they are not just using unused footage of Fisher, but a body double to place Leia on location, and even incorporating retooled existing in-movie shots from the previous films into The Rise of Skywalker."
During the recent Vanity Fair shoot for The Rise of Skywalker, an image of John Williams conducting his orchestra for the new score was released, and it contained an image of General Leia on a screen in the background, showing how they have reused this footage, aging it up and changing the wardrobe to fit the new scene in question. They have also added quiet a bit of grey to Carrie Fisher's hair.
The rumor goes onto claim that a voice double has been brought in for additional ADR, which makes sense. The script for The Rise of Skywalker had not been written at the time the deleted footage from The Last Jedi or The Force Awakens were shot, so it's unlikely whatever dialogue is in those scenes would fit within the framework of this new story. None of this information has been verified just yet beyond the confirmed fact that the production will be using deleted scenes, much like Ed Wood did in resurrecting Bela Lugosi for scenes in Plan 9 From Outer Space, which has earned The Rise of Skywalker the nickname Star Wars Plan 9 from some of the more unsavory parts of the Star Wars Youtube universe such as Ethan Van Scribbles and his geeky gamer crew. This news was first reported at Making Star Wars.