It came as a surprise when director J.J. Abrams announced Carrie Fisher would be in Star Wars: Episode IX. The legendary actress died at the age of 60 in 2016. But it seems Abrams was able to find a way to include her famed character, former Princess and now General Leia, in the final installment of the Skywalker saga.
"We desperately loved Carrie Fisher," said Abrams, who co-wrote the film with Chris Terrio, in a 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 [Lourd], 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."
Now Fisher's brother, Todd, who was previously shut down by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy when he announced his sister's unused footage would be used in the film, is speaking out as well about the decision. "J.J. [Abrams] really made this happen," he told the Hollywood Reporter.
"If I was in anyway an inspiration for the final decision to keep Leia a part of the story, that's great," he continued. "I must say at times I felt like a voice crying in the wilderness."
Fisher won't be the only original Star Wars cast member seen in Episode IX. Mark Hamill is returning as Luke Skywalker and Billy Dee Williams will portray Lando Calrissian once again for the first time since the original films.