Carrie Fisher is a fundamental part of the Star Wars world and has been from the very beginning. Fisher’s’ tragic passing in December of 2016 left many fans concerned how the franchise should proceed without the iconic actress. General Leia Organa has been instrumental in the sequel trilogy and Fisher brought experience and energy that is simply irreplaceable. Oscar Isaac, who got close with Fisher through their time on set, opened up about Disney’s choice to bring Leia back for Episode IX.
Isaac stars opposite of Fisher as pilot Poe Dameron, one of the most talented soldiers in the resistance. Director J.J. Abrams announced that he will use footage from cutting-room scenes to end Leia’s arch. Isaac worked closely as a part of the resistance with Fisher and may be the only path to giving fans closure for the beloved star and character. In an interview with Sirius XM’s Tell Me John, Isaac said he understood why Abrams decided to use the cutting-floor footage of Isaac with the late star, “I wasn’t surprised because I remember we were doing that, we worked a lot. [Fisher] and I worked together so much. We would talk about the scenes, and we got very tight during the shooting of that. So it was a beautiful thing to see, and it gets carried over into the new film as well.”
In addition to repurposing cutting-floor footage, Abrams has employed Isaac to act against prerecorded scenes of Fisher – an experience that has been uncomfortable for the actor: “It was definitely an unusual thing, but I also think it was right to engage with her character, and not just let it be something that fades away.”
Resurrecting the characters of late actors is not new business for the Star Wars franchise. The franchise’s 2016 entry Rogue One: A Star Wars Story used GCI to superimpose Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin. It is contentious whether the continuation of these characters is a meaningful way to honor the actor’s legacy or simply a corporate exploitation of death.