Here's how Carrie Fisher will still appear as Princess Leia in 'Star Wars: Episode IX'

Here's how Carrie Fisher will still appear as Princess Leia in 'Star Wars: Episode IX'

In December 2016, Carrie Fisher tragically died at the age of 60. The actress, author and pop culture icon suffered a sudden case of cardiac arrest, following a medical emergency on a flight from London to Los Angeles. Star Wars fans fondly remember for her for playing Leia Organa, the feisty rebel princess turned bikini-clad Jabba-strangler turned badass war general.

The world mourned Carrie's death, with fans and friends posting emotional tributes. When she appeared on talk shows, movie sets and the red carpet, she was always accompanied by her French bulldog, Gary Fisher. Unfortunately, she died just before the premiere of Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. But Gary caught the movie, and perked up whenever his owner was on screen.

Fans wondered how Carrie Fisher's death would affect the new trilogy. In Episode VIII, her character survives, which would seem to be a big problem. In the standalone Star Wars movie Rogue One, a prequel to A New Hope, they used CGI to bring back a character played by a dead actor: Grand Moff Tarkin, played by the late Peter Cushing. They also used CGI to create a young Princess Leia, as played by a 21-year-old Carrie Fisher. (In both cases, they superimposed digital likenesses on young actors. Carrie Fisher was alive at the time.)

For Episode IX, would they bring back General Leia with CGI? Some fans hated the idea, arguing the Rogue One recreations had an 'uncanny valley' effect. However, special effects technology is constantly improving. In the Marvel comic book movies, they successfully de-aged Robert Downey Jr. and Martin Sheen. Terminator: Genisys sucked, but young Arnold Schwarzenegger looked pretty good. Plus wouldn't Carrie want them to finish the story?

Well, wonder no more. Today Disney and LucasFilm announced they will bring Princess Leia back to the screen using previously unreleased footage shot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. (That's right, TFA, not The Last Jedi.)

"We desperately loved Carrie Fisher," said J.J. Abrams, director of TFA and Episode IX. "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 honor Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII."

They also announced the cast for Star Wars Episode IX: Return Of The Money Train. (Okay, there's no subtitle yet.) Returning cast members include Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, and Billie Lourd (Carrie Fisher's daughter).

New cast members include Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, and Keri Russell. And veteran cast members include Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, and Billy Dee Williams, reprising smooth-talking traitor Lando Calrissian. (Finally!) Also, 86-year-old composer John Williams, who scored every Star Wars movie since 1977's A New Hope will returning one last time.

In December 2019, Episode IX will hit theaters, and we'll see how General Leia Organa's story comes to an end.