Todd Fisher has been vindicated! Fisher, brother of the late Carrie Fisher, stated in April 2017 that Princess Leia would return for Star Wars: Episode IX via unused footage. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy quickly shot down Fisher’s comment, saying that he was “confused,” and that she had “no idea why he said that.” It turns out that Mr. Fisher gets the last laugh, as his sister will indeed feature in Episode IX thanks to unused film shot during the production of 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The Hollywood Reporter chronicled Fisher’s redemption late last week, which began with a statement from director J.J. Abrams. “We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” Abrams said. “Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast, or use a CG character.” Carrie Fisher died in December 2016, after her scenes for Star Wars: The Last Jedi had already been filmed.
Fisher’s brother expressed his joy shortly after Abrams’ statement. “J.J. [Abrams] really made this happen,” said Fisher. The actress’ brother also stated that he holds no ill will towards Kennedy. “If I was in any way an inspiration for the final decision to keep Leia a part of the story, that’s great,” he told THR. “I must say at times I felt like a voice crying in the wilderness.”
For Episode IX, returning cast members include Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, and Carrie Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd. Returning original Star Wars actors include Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, and Billy Dee Williams. New cast members include Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, and Keri Russell.
Star Wars: Episode IX begins filming August 1 at Pinewood Studios in London, and opens in theaters on December 20, 2019.