There is still a lot of controversy swirling around Rogue One and the filmmakers' decision to resurrect Peter Cushing for a few key scenes via Motion Capture and CG technology. Disney and Lucasfilm also collaborated with ILM to create a 19-year-old Princess Leia using an exact likeness of Carrie Fisher. Just weeks after the movie's release, Carrie Fisher passed away. But her legacy may live on through the use of this technology in future Star Wars movies. After her death, it has been widely reported that Carrie Fisher loved her Rogue One cameo, and getting a chance to see her younger self on the big screen once again. But the debate it raises: Is it ethical to keep employing actors well after they've perished from this Earth?
That's the quandary that faces Disney, Lucasfilm, and director Colin Treverrow as Star Wars: Episode IX gears up for production. It has been widely reported that Carrie Fisher completed her scenes for Star Wars 8. But meetings have been taking place this week to see how to move forward. And one of the things being considered is bringing Princess Leia (or rather General Organa) back for upcoming installments utilizing the ground breaking technology that allowed Peter Cushing's Grand Moff Tarkin to live and breath again.
BBC Newsnight aired a piece last night about the use of human CG characters in live-action movies, with some of the focus on Rogue One and its VFX artistry. During the show, it was revealed that Lucasfilm and Disney are already meeting with the Carrie Fisher estate about continuing to use her likeness to bring Leia back for upcoming Star Wars movies. The video in question is only available in the U.K. The key piece to take away from the segment is spelled out here.
"And if what might be regarded as unseemly haste, Disney is negotiating with the actor's estate over her continued appearance in the franchise. If Disney gets the go-ahead, Carrie Fisher will join Peter Cushing..."
It isn't known if Leia will be utilized as a 'main character' using this technology, or if she will be relegated to cameos or holographic appearances. Shortly after Carrie Fisher's death, it was reported that Treverrow was meeting with Lucasfilm and Disney about a massive Star Wars 9 rewrite, which could also affect Star Wars 8 moving forward. Leia is said to have a bigger role in Episode 8, which was supposed to expand in Star Wars 9. The story has to be rewritten now to account for Fisher's untimely passing. That is, unless Disney and the Fisher estate can come to some kind of agreement.
There are two key scenes for General Leia Organa that are spread between Star Wars 8 and Star Wars 9. The first of which features a reunion between Leia and her twin brother Luke Skywalker. This scene, or at least part of it, was already shot. The second key scene involves Leia coming face to face with Kylo Ren. If a CG stand-in for Leia is not an option, some or all of Leia's scenes may be cut from Star Wars 8 so that the story can continue in Star Wars 9. There is heavily speculation that the reunion between Luke and Leia comes in the final moments of Star Wars 8, with that being the final scene. If that is the case, and Leia doesn't return via Motion Capture, this moment will most likely be excised from the movie for the simple fact that they won't be able to continue it in the next chapter.
While the Fisher Estate hasn't made any announcements in regards to the use of Carrie Fisher's likeness in future Star Wars movies, it appears that Disney really wants to bring the former princess back. At this time, no one is certain how this will affect Star Wars 8, which is hitting theaters in December. If an agreement can't be reached, substantial reshoots are likely to happen in the very near future.