YAHOO – Still think Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker was the “last Jedi” referenced in the title of the eighth episode of Star Wars’s Skywalker Saga? Think again. In the original version of the ninth and final installment, The Rise of Skywalker, his sister, Leia (played by Carrie Fisher), was going to emerge as a full-fledged Jedi warrior, complete with her very own lightsaber. That’s according to no less an authority than Fisher’s real-life brother, Todd Fisher, who filled us in on what the plan was for his sister’s iconic character prior to her sudden death in December 2016. “She was going to be the big payoff in the final film,” Fisher reveals exclusively to Yahoo Entertainment. “She was going to be the last Jedi, so to speak. That’s cool right?” (Watch our video interview above.)
Cool is an understatement: It’s positively wizard. Leia’s Force abilities were teased in a key scene of Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, and the Resistance general apparently would have had the chance to get even more physical in The Rise of Skywalker. “People used to say to me, ‘Why is it that Carrie never gets a lightsaber and chops up some bad guys,’” Fisher says, noting that Alec Guinness was roughly the same age when Obi-Wan Kenobi battled Darth Vader in A New Hope. “Obi-Wan was in his prime when he was Carrie’s age!”
Unfortunately, a version of The Rise of Skywalker where Leia picks up her father and brother’s chosen weapon can only exist in our imaginations. After Fisher’s death, her alter ego’s arc had to be re-conceived by returning director J.J. Abrams, who previously directed the actress in 2015’s The Force Awakens. “The truth is that J.J. Abrams was great friends with Carrie… he had an extraordinary sense of love for her,” her brother says. It was that love that led the filmmaker to make a bold, and creatively risky decision: take unused footage of Leia left over from The Force Awakens and make it part of The Rise of Skywalker. “They had eight minutes of footage,” Fisher tells us. “They grabbed every frame and analyzed it… and then reverse-engineered it and [got] it into the story the right way. It’s kind of magical.”
Fisher understandably declines to elaborate on how exactly Abrams “reverse-engineered” the unused footage into a satisfying farewell to such a beloved, and groundbreaking, character. But he does hint that Abrams has found a way to address both losses in an emotional way. “This is, in its own way, a payoff. … It’s Carrie talking to us all from beyond. The beautiful thing about the concept of the Force is that there is no real death; you just exist in another dimension. So Carrie is looking down or sideways or wherever and is still part of us. To be able to see that — it’s magical stuff only in the movies.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY – Carrie Fisher may be gone but her legacy lives on with Princess-turned-General Leia in the Star Wars films.
When sitting down in the EW and PEOPLE video studio at the D23 fan expo in Anaheim, Calif. on Saturday, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker director J.J. Abrams and LucasFilm head Kathleen Kennedy discussed how they were going to handle the late Fisher’s role in the upcoming conclusion to the latest trilogy.
“There was a huge sense of responsibility,” Kennedy says. “We spent a lot of time talking about what do we want to feel? First of all, Leia. That was a really, really complicated conversation but we knew that she was such an important character to the story.”
And Abrams adds, “It just felt wrong to say that she wasn’t around, to say that she had gone somewhere, to say that she had passed away in between, it just felt like there was no way to end this story. She’s such an integral part of it.”
“Finding the end to this in an emotional way was paramount,” Kennedy says. During the D23 panel, Abrams revealed that “we realized that we had footage from Episode VII that we realized we could use in a new way. So Carrie, as Leia, gets to be in the film.”
When it came to figuring out the ending to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Abrams knew had a monumental endeavor on his hands. Not only does this film end the most recent Star Wars trilogy, but it also promises to conclude the nine-film saga that began with 1977’s A New Hope.
“It’s not just the end of three movies; it’s the end of nine movies, three trilogies,” Abrams says. “So the story needed to end emotionally, it needed to end with scale but with intimacy. It was a bit of a juggling on a tightrope act. But it was really important to us that we tell a story that makes people feel and where there’s a sense if you’re a kid watching all nine movies years from now, you see this beginning, middle, and end and you feel like it was all coming to this.”
Check out our full interview with Abrams and Kennedy above.
Before Abrams and Kennedy sat down with EW and People, they debuted a new poster at D23 showing Rey (Daisy Ridley) facing off against Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), as well as an epic sizzle reel that is expected to be released online Monday, representing the first new footage of the film since the teaser trailer was released in April.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is set for release Dec. 20, 2019.
FOX NEWS – Todd Fisher can still vividly recall the last conversation he had with his sister, Hollywood star and “Star Wars” icon Carrie Fisher.
The pair were celebrating the actress’ birthday with a lavish party thrown by their mother, fellow screen legend Debbie Fisher, who had suffered a stroke a year before.
The siblings, who noticed their mother was excited but frail, were compelled to open up with each other.
“We were talking about traveling together and doing other things, and she was still a little angry at me because, A, the party I had to sort of force down her throat, but my mom wanted it, and B, there was always different tension between the family of mom, particularly myself, and Carrie, as it related to her drug use at the time,” the 60-year-old told Fox News.
“… But when Carrie and I got face-to-face, there was no way to have any of that. It just melted away, because the blood, the relationship between brother and sister, the bond, is so deep… She broke down and said ‘… We have to be OK with each other. It’s the foundation.’”
Carrie died in 2016 at age 60 after suffering from a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles. Their mother died just a day later at age 84 from a stroke.
Sorry for the lack of updates. Each of my fansites has had a big press tour and I haven’t been able to get back to making updates to this one. But I wanted to start doing at least one movie a week. This week I have more than one to make up for the lack of updates, including Carrie’s first film. And I also found the scenes on YouTube!
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