The Rise of Skywalker co-writer Chris Terrio aimed to have one goal accomplished surrounding Carrie Fisher's Leia Organa. Lucasfilm made the controversial decision to include the late actress in the movie using unused footage from 2015's The Force Awakens and 2017's The Last Jedi. When the movie hit theaters, eagle-eyed Star Wars fans were able to spot that there were instances of recycled footage used too. Now, co-writer Chris Terrio explains the one thing he and J.J. Abrams wanted to accomplish when bringing Leia back.
For the most part, The Rise of Skywalker does a pretty good job of editing the old footage of Carrie Fisher into the story. While some fans may argue that they attempted too much with too little, it was all something that Chris Terrio and J.J. Abrams wanted from the start to finish off her story on the big screen. Terrio had this to say about Leia's story in the movie.
"We knew there was, in this movie, a certain sobriety about Leia, and we had to pick and choose to ensure the weight of responsibility was still on Leia's mind while at the same time maintaining a sense of Carrie's wit and brilliance. It wasn't easy. Most importantly, we wanted to put Leia in the Jedi pantheon. We thought that was a promise that was made in the original trilogy.
In Return of the Jedi, you have this line, 'There is another.' That line haunted me as a kid, and to learn Leia was another Jedi was profoundly moving to me. We thought if we did one thing in this movie, we wanted to find a way to put Leia in the Jedi pantheon. The way to do that was through Rey and Leia training her through the Jedi trials. A lot of our decisions through the film were setting up scenes where Rey could finish Leia's Jedi journey for her."
The Rise of Skywalker does go into putting Leia in the Jedi pantheon, as Chris Terrio puts it. A flashback scene featuring a young Luke and Leia engaging in Jedi training was the only time Carrie Fisher was not Leia in the movie. Instead, they used Fisher's daughter, Billie Lourd, and then went through and pasted Fisher's face over Lourd's using CGI. All of the rest of the footage was from 2015 and 2017.
While there have been some gripes with the sequel trilogy from the start, it has opened the world of Star Wars up in new ways for the future. The Skywalker Saga has officially come to a close with The Rise of Skywalker, at least for the time being, which leaves Lucasfilm and Disney the luxury to explore uncharted areas on both the big and small screens. So far, we have only gotten hints of what's to come.
Disney+ has The Mandalorian, which takes place around five years after Return of the Jedi, while the Rogue One prequel series is on the way, taking place before the events of A New Hope. With that being said, it's looking like the next big screen projects will take place well before the Skywalker Saga, during the High Republic era, so there won't be any Luke and Leia in those stories. The interview with Chris Terrio was originally conducted by Awards Daily.