LOS ANGELES • The late actress Carrie Fisher was to be the leading force of the ninth film in the Star Wars saga and plans were derailed by her sudden death last year, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said.
She told Vanity Fair that Fisher, who died in December at age 60 after suffering a heart attack, had finished filming the forthcoming eighth film, The Last Jedi, and was hoping her character, General Leia Organa, would be the central figure of Episode IX.
"The minute she finished, she grabbed me and said, 'I'd better be at the forefront of IX!' because Harrison (Ford) was front and centre on VII and Mark (Hamill) is front and centre on VIII. She thought IX would be her movie. And it would have been," Kennedy said in an interview published on Wednesday.
Fisher rose to fame as Princess Leia in the original Star Wars franchise (1977-1983), alongside Ford's Han Solo and Hamill's Luke Skywalker.
Ford bowed out of the series as his character was killed in 2015's The Force Awakens, which rebooted the franchise.
While details of The Last Jedi, due out on Dec 15, have been kept secret, Vanity Fair said Fisher's role in the film was not affected by her death, other than making it "more poignant: the film farewell of both the actress and the character".
The yet-to-be-titled ninth film, due out in May 2019, has been reworked by Kennedy, director Colin Trevorrow and the Lucasfilm team, Vanity Fair said. Filming is due to start next year.