'Star Wars': Carrie Fisher Would've Been 'Front and Center' in 'Episode IX' and Other Reveals From Vanity Fair

Carrie Fisher in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens.’ (Photo: Lucasfilm)
Carrie Fisher in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens.’ (Photo: Lucasfilm)

Following yesterday’s debut of its latest issue’s four cover images, Vanity Fair has now published its eagerly anticipated preview feature on Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It includes heartbreaking news for the millions of fans still grieving the loss of Princess Leia herself, Carrie Fisher.

During a discussion about how Fisher was a source of strength and support for her younger co-stars Daisy Ridley and John Boyega as they shouldered the new Star Wars trilogy, the article reveals that the yet-to-be-produced Episode IX was going to focus on Fisher’s Princess Leia. As producer Kathleen Kennedy recalls about completing filming The Last Jedi:

“[Fisher] was having a blast. The minute she finished, she grabbed me and said, ‘I’d better be at the forefront of IX!’ Because Harrison was front and center on VII, and Mark is front and center on VIII. She thought IX would be her movie. And it would have been.”

The Star Wars brain trust is hard at work trying to figure out how to reconfigure Episode IX in the wake of Fisher’s unexpected death late last year. One thing the Vanity Fair feature confirms is that Princess Leia will not be resurrected via CGI, à la her brief, youthful cameo in last year’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, with Kennedy stating flatly, “We don’t have any intention of beginning a trend of re-creating actors who are gone.”

Mark Hamill still can’t get over the loss of his co-star and dear friend, stating:

“I can’t say that phrase, what you just said: Carrie’s name and then the d-word. Because I think of her in the present tense. Maybe it’s a form of denial, but she’s so vibrant in my mind, and so vital a part of the family, that I can’t imagine it without her.”

As if that weren’t sad enough, the magazine also delivered the stunning photo of Hamill and Fisher together, below:

Fisher wasn’t the only news to come out of the story. We also learned about writer/director Rian Johnson’s sequel:

  • The remote island of Ahch-To, where Luke has been living for years, is home to a village community populated by “an indigenous race of caretaker creatures whom Johnson is loath to describe in any more detail, except to say that they are ‘not Ewoks.’”

  • John Boyega’s Finn will begin The Last Jedi recuperating from injuries suffered in his Star Wars: The Force Awakens battle with Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren by spending some time in a bacta suit.

  • Benicio Del Toro will be playing a “shady character” who is never named in the movie, but whom everyone on set referred to as “DJ.”

  • Laura Dern will play a prominent Resistance officer named Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo.

  • Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose, who we learned at Star Wars Celebration would have an integral Last Jedi role, will team up with Finn for “a mission behind enemy lines.”

  • Rose and Finn will spend at least part of their adventure at a ritzy casino city, Canto Bight, which director Johnson describes as “a Star Wars Monte Carlo-type environment, a little James Bond-ish, a little To Catch a Thief. It was an interesting challenge, portraying luxury and wealth in this universe.”

For more behind-the-scenes info, including an amusing anecdote from Oscar Isaac (who returns as hotshot pilot Poe Dameron) about a particularly painful scene he shot with Fisher, check out Vanity Fair’s comprehensive preview here. Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrives in theaters on December 15.

Watch Princess Leia fans pay tribute to Carrie Fisher: