Following news that the late Carrie Fisher would appear in the next Star Wars film via previously unreleased footage, her brother, Todd Fisher, released a statement expressing his approval.
“I couldn’t be more personally thrilled and happy that our Carrie will reprise her role as Princess Leia in the new and final Star Wars Episode IX, using previously unreleased footage of her shot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” he said in a statement.
“As we, her family, as well as her extended family of fans around the world so believe, Carrie’s ‘Princess Leia’ is forever entrenched in the franchise and her indelible presence is fundamental to the film.
“J.J. Abrams understood Carrie’s iconic role, and he has masterfully re-crafted this final entry to include this unused and very last footage of Carrie ever taken, without resorting to CGI or animatronics. Our family and her fans will look forward with great anticipation for this one! Her force will forever be with us!”
In April 2017, Fisher told various media outlets that his sister would be featured in the upcoming film, but Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy quickly shot it down and said he was “confused.”
“Sadly, Carrie will not be in Nine,” Kennedy told ABC News at the time. “But we’ll see a lot of her in Eight, which is great.”
Todd Fisher “was probably confused because we finished everything in Eight, and Carrie is absolutely phenomenal in the movie,” Kennedy continued. “We’re so happy that we were able to complete shooting in the summer. Unfortunately, Carrie passed away.”
But news of Fisher’s role in Episode IX was confirmed in an official statement from Lucasfilm on Friday. “We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” director J.J. Abrams said in the statement. “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 honour Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in ‘Episode IX’ by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII.”
Franchise veteran Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker in the films, also took to Twitter over the weekend to share his thoughts on the news.
“It’s bittersweet facing my final chapter without her,” he tweeted. “She is simply irreplaceable. I’m finding solace in the fact that she won’t BE replaced and would love the worldwide outpouring of affection from those who loved her when they heard the news. #CarrieOnForever.”
Fisher died on December 27, 2016, at age 60. Star Wars: Episode IX is scheduled to hit theatres on December 20, 2019.