After Carrie Fisher tragically died before her last Star Wars film was set to start filming, director J.J. Abrams came up with a way to keep her iconic character alive.
Abram previously announced that the filmmakers would bring Fisher back by using previous footage from her most recent Star Wars movies to continue the General Leia character.
“We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” Abrams said in a statement before the release of The Rise of Skywalker. “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.”
Now, Disney is giving fans a look into how it came to be.
A new “Behind the Magic” video shows how the special effects team would take footage of Fisher and digitally implant it into The Rise of Skywalker scenes. They would also give her new clothing to make the footage seem more current.
Fisher was 60 when she died in 2016 from a cardiac arrest she suffered on a flight from London to Los Angeles.
The director used Fisher’s old footage with permission from her daughter Billie Lourd, who he also called on when it came time to film a flashback scene.
According to Visual Effects Supervisor Patrick Tubach, the director asked Lourd, 27, to shoot a scene as Fisher. The scene was a flashback to a young Leia training with her brother Luke, played by Mark Hamill.
“Billie was playing her mother,” Tubach revealed to Yahoo!. “It was a poignant thing, and something that nobody took lightly — that she was willing to stand in for her mom.”
Footage of Fisher from an earlier Star Wars movie was used to digitally replace Lourd’s face.
The Rise of Skywalker is nominated for Best Visual Effects at this Sunday’s Academy Awards.