The Rise of Skywalker will tell the original Leia Organa story that has always been intended. J.J. Abrams revealed the news in a recent interview. Carrie Fisher sadly passed away in late 2016 at the age of 60. She had just finished her work on The Last Jedi, but that left a big gaping hole in the final installment of the sequel trilogy. However, when J.J. Abrams stepped on board, it was announced that they would be using unseen footage of Fisher from 2015's The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, repurposing it for The Rise of Skywalker.
Now, J.J. Abrams says they were able to tell the same story that they would have had Carrie Fisher lived. The Rise of Skywalker features about eight minutes of Leia footage, according to Todd Fisher, which doesn't sound like a lot. With that being said, Abrams is pretty confident that they did her story justice. He explains.
"There are scenes where she's interacting with other characters in a way that is uncanny. Hopefully, if it works, it will be an invisible thing and if you didn't know, you would never know. But we got to tell the story with Leia that we would have told had Carrie lived. And that's kind of incredible."
This information seems to go against what Carrie Fisher's brother, Todd Fisher, recently had to say about the matter. He claimed, "She was going to be the big payoff in this final film and that was what the intent was prior to her exiting. She was going to be the last Jedi, so to speak..." It doesn't sound like Fisher has seen The Rise of Skywalker in any capacity, and might not know if Leia becomes a Jedi, which makes sense since it is still being edited. We're going to have to go with J.J. Abrams on this matter, since he is the one behind the camera.
While Todd Fisher has praised The Rise of Skywalker as "magical" for the way J.J. Abrams and crew were able to "reverse engineer" Carrie Fisher into the movie, it doesn't sound like he knows much about her story in it. Lucasfilm and Disney are notoriously secretive about their Star Wars projects, so this makes sense. As for how it was all originally supposed to go down before Carrie Fisher passed away, we'll have to wait until the movie hits theaters for the real answers.
J.J. Abrams seems pretty satisfied with the way they were able to honor Carrie Fisher in The Rise of Skywalker. Hopefully Star Wars fans will agree when the movie opens in theaters on December 20th. We have seen Fisher in the trailers released for the movie and it looks like they did a pretty amazing job of making the old footage look natural to fit in with the new stuff shot for the movie. The interview with Abrams was originally conducted by Total Film.