Next Star Wars movie to use existing footage of late Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia, died suddenly in December 2016 at age 60 after suffering a heart attack just as she was enjoying a career revival.
Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia, died suddenly in December 2016 at age 60 after suffering a heart attack just as she was enjoying a career revival. PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES • Carrie Fisher will be featured in the next Star Wars movie, using previously unseen footage she recorded before her death, Walt Disney Co studio said.

Actor Mark Hamill, whose Luke Skywalker character appeared to die in last year's Star Wars: The Last Jedi, will also appear in the next movie, which will start filming in London on Aug 1, Disney said in a statement last Friday.

Fisher, who played Princess Leia, died suddenly in December 2016 at age 60 after suffering a heart attack just as she was enjoying a career revival with the reinvigorated Star Wars movie franchise that reunited her with original cast members Hamill and Harrison Ford in the 2015 film Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

She had just finished shooting The Last Jedi and Leia was to have been the central character in the ninth film in the sci-fi franchise Star Wars: Episode IX.

"We desperately loved Carrie Fisher," director J.J. Abrams, who will direct Episode IX, said in a statement.

"We have found a way to honour Carrie's legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII," he added, referring to Force Awakens.

Billy Dee Williams will reprise his role as scoundrel Lando Calrissian, who was first seen in 1980s The Empire Strikes Back and 1983s Return Of The Jedi, the Disney statement added.

Williams will join returning cast members Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Lupita Nyong'o and Kelly Marie Tran, the studio said.

Episode IX, which has yet to get a formal title, is due to arrive in cinemas worldwide in December next year.

The Star Wars franchise is among the most valuable film properties in the world. The Force Awakens took in more than US$2 billion (S$2.7 billion) at the global box office, while The Last Jedi raked in US$1.3 billion (S$1.8 billion).

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 29, 2018, with the headline 'Next Star Wars movie to use existing footage of late Carrie Fisher'. Print Edition | Subscribe