No, There Won't Be A CGI Carrie Fisher In Upcoming 'Star Wars' Films
Major spoilers ahead for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
One piece of intrigue surrounding Rogue One involved the casting—or the lack thereof. A younger version of Princess Leia, as well as the insidious Grand Moff Tarkin, were shoehorned into the movie via computer-generated graphics. The effect was a little jarring. While we've come a long way since first days of decent CGI (re: Terminator 2), there was no doubt to the naked eye that Leia and Tarkin were not quite there. Their skin was a little too glossy, their expressions a little too stiff. The characters stood out as pieces of novelty to be admired, rather than as characters to be fully integrated into the story.
With the recent passing of Carrie Fisher (who played Leia), some people were fearing the emergence of a CGI Fisher on screen. Sure, the producers had already done this in Rogue One, but the reasoning there was that a younger Leia was needed, as the movie takes place before the events of the original 1970s and 80s trilogy. The question, then, is if a present-day Fisher would show up in the upcoming sequels to The Force Awakens, which takes place after the original trilogy's timeline. Certainly, they wouldn't digitally replicate a person who'd just passed away, right? That would be (at the very, very least) a crass thing to do. But then there's the issue of Tarkin, who was played by the late Peter Cushing (he died in 1994). Here, the producers had no qualms about resurrecting a dead person (digitally).
On Friday, Lucasfilm stepped out to set things straight: no, there won't be a CGI Fisher in the upcoming movies. In a statement published on the official Star Wars website, the production company noted that they "don’t normally respond to fan or press speculation," but wanted to comment on this one piece of rumor. "We want to assure our fans that Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher’s performance as Princess or General Leia Organa," said the statement, adding that the company wants to "cherish her memory and legacy as Princess Leia, and will always strive to honor everything she gave to Star Wars."
As noted by Variety, Fisher had finished filming the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII, which is slated for release in December, 2017. So she will be in another Star Wars, though it remains to be seen what will become of her character in Episode IX, which will most likely begin shooting in early 2018. According to The Hollywood Reporter, directors and producers involved with the Star Wars franchise have been meeting to discuss the future of Princess Leia, with the possibility that her character will be written off.
In the same report, Michael Fink, an Oscar-winning VFX supervisor, told the Hollywood Reporter that, "there are filmmakers who will be willing to take up the challenge," of using CGI to replicated Fisher, though he added that it's probably a bad idea. "Should we create additional roles for Princess Leia? I don't think so," said Fink. And we're happy to hear Lucasfilm agrees.