After the untimely passing of Carrie Fisher in 2016, Star Wars fans wondered whether Princess-turned-General Leia Organa would appear in Episode IX (which begins filming this week). It turns out, she will, using previously unreleased footage from The Force Awakens. “We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” director J.J. Abrams said. “Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast, or use a CG character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie, we have found a way to honor Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII.”
Also back for Episode IX: Mark Hamill, despite Luke Skywalker being… y’know. In a Twitter post, the actor paid tribute to Fisher and addressed the announcement that she’ll be in the new film. “It’s bittersweet facing my final chapter without her,” Hamill wrote. “She is simply irreplaceable. I’m finding solace in the fact that she won’t BE replaced & would love the worldwide outpouring of affection from those who loved her when they heard the news.”
He also included a hashtag: #CarrieOnForever.
Star Wars: Episode IX — which also stars Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, Anthony Daniels, and Billy Dee Williams (reprising his role as Lando Calrissian), as well as newcomers Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, and Keri Russell — opens on December 20, 2019.