While George Lucas‘ space saga that began in 1977 will be coming to a close — 42 years and a total of nine films later — this December with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, it will also mark the return of the late Carrie Fisher to that galaxy far, far away, featuring an onscreen reunion with daughter Billie Lourd.
When Star Wars returned in 2015 for Episode VII: The Force Awakens, Carrie was back, reprising her role of Leia Organa. She was also in Episode VIII: The Last Jedi and, by all reports, was going to play a significant role in The Rise of Skywalker. Her death on December 27, 2016, seemed to have shuttered those plans. For her part, Billie Lourd has played the role of Lieutenant Connix in the first two installments of this trilogy, but now comes word that not only is she returning, but she’ll be right alongside her mom.
Now, before you start getting creeped out over the thought that they’ll be resurrecting Carrie via CGI (you can see what that looks like at the end of the prequel film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), that isn’t the case at all, as director/cowriter J.J. Abrams explains to Vanity Fair. It seems that Carrie had shot additional scenes — including a couple with Billie — that had gotten cut from The Force Awakens, and now those sequences are being interwoven within The Rise of Skywalker.
Says J.J., “It’s hard hard to even talk about it without sounding like I’m being some kind of cosmic spiritual goofball, but it felt like we suddenly had found the impossible answer to the impossible question. It was a bizarre kind of left side-right side of the brain sort of Venn diagram thing, of figuring out how to create the puzzle based on the pieces we had.”
His first impulse, in an effort to protect Billie, was to cut any moments that featured her with her mom, but Billie insisted that they be included. “And so, there are moments where they’re talking; there are moments where they’re touching,” he explains. “There are moments in this movie where Carrie is there, and I really do feel there is an element of the uncanny, spiritual, classic Carrie, that it would have happened this way, because somehow it worked. And I never thought it would.”
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be in theaters December 20.
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