The Star Wars fanbase and beyond is still reeling from the tragic death of Carrie Fisher, the actress known for her continued role as Princess Leia Organa in the franchise. Now, Lucasfilm has to weigh its options after Fisher's death: What will happen with Princess Leia in the new trilogy?
While Fisher has reportedly filmed all of her scenes for Episode VIII, out later this year, the actress's death could cause the final film in the trilogy, Episode IX, to undergo a major rehaul. According to a report from the Hollywood Reporter, Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow and key members of the Lucasfilm braintrust are set to meet to discuss their options for the upcoming film, which ostensibly included two major scenes for the character.
Per the report, the franchise initially had two key moments for Leia in the films: Reuniting with her brother Luke and confronting her estranged son Kylo Ren. It's unclear if one or both of these scenes could take place in Episode VIII (a Luke and Leia reunion seems like a potential Episode IX sendoff), but Lucasfilm cutting Leia scenes from Episode VIII isn't entirely out of the question, either.
It's all theoretical for now — as the Hollywood Reporter piece noted, "People are still deeply mourning Carrie's death [at Lucasfilm]" — but the franchise has a few options to consider.
They can keep the already filmed scenes with Fisher as Leia in Episode VIII, and use a similar CGI likeness for the character in Episode IX, akin to Rogue One's use of a CGIed Peter Cushing for a few key scenes. The issue, to that end, comes down to the ethical boundaries — some Rogue One viewers were uncomfortable with the film's use of Cushing, more than two decades after his death. Similar backlash to a CGIed Fisher would be expected. Alternatively, they could re-write Leia into fewer scenes, or even kill the character offscreen, though the latter would be an unceremonious end to a beloved heroine.
It remains to be seen what route Lucasfilm will take in the aftermath of Fisher's death. Ultimately, it's a difficult decision with no obvious choice, at a time when many are still grieving the actress's death.