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A CGI General Leia Is Rumored for ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’

Lucasfilm
Lucasfilm

Unexpected deaths of actors who are part of huge ongoing franchises make things complicated. You want to pay your respects in a decent way, while also, in the best case scenario, keeping the rest of the series afloat without them. Carrie Fisher had finished shooting all of her scenes in Star Wars: Episode VIII before her death in December, but she still apparently has a pretty big role to play in the final installment. How will they keep the story going without actually having her in it? There’s a rumor going around that Disney is thinking of going the Tarkin route.

The Star Wars anthology film Rogue One featured Grand Moff Tarkin before he became a Grand Moff, using a combination of CGI and motion capture for the character because Peter Cushing, who played him in A New Hope, died in 1994. Some people were pretty bothered by the look of the computerized Tarkin, and it raised questions of morality and integrity when it comes to actor deaths. (If you’re interested in a philosophical sci-fi take on this, make sure to check out The Congress.) An episode of the British program BBC Newsnight that aired Wednesday night (which you can watch here, but only if you’re in the UK) focused on computerized characters in film and talked a bit about how Rogue One handled it. Naturally, the subject of whether the same will be done with Fisher came up (via StarWarsNews.net):

And in what might be regarded as unseemly haste, Disney is negotiating with the actor’s estate over her continued appearance in the franchise. If Disney gets the go-ahead, Carrie Fisher will join Peter Cushing…

Hmm. Regardless of how you view the concept of resurrecting actors after their deaths for the sake of a movie, you have to admit Tarkin still looked a little… off, no matter how much time and money they put into creating the program that made him. Would treating Carrie Fisher’s likeness in the same way work for the movie, or would it just be distracting? Neither Disney nor Lucasfilm has confirmed any of this, and hopefully it isn’t true and they find some other way to give General Leia a proper send-off. Furious 7 retooled the plot of the movie to accommodate for Paul Walker’s death, with only a minimal, dreamlike usage of CGI right there at the end. Disney will have to decide what’s more worth spending money on: the computer program or the rewrite.

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