Billie Lourd asked to share scenes with late mother Carrie Fisher in Rise of Skywalker
In an interview with Vanity Fair, director J.J. Abrams revealed that Billie Lourd specifically requested that her character be written in scenes with her late mother, Carrie Fisher, in the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker movie.
Fisher’s General Leia will appear in the film via cut scenes from The Force Awakens that were carefully stitched together in the final Skywalker installment. Initially, Abrams intended to write Lourd’s scenes without her mother, worried that it would “be uncomfortable for her.” Lourd, who plays one of Leia’s lieutenants, Connix, instead told the director: “I want to be in scenes with her. I want it for my children when I have kids. I want them to see.”
Abrams also discussed the puzzle of writing scenes around the existing footage Fisher shot for The Force Awakens, complete with shooting other angles, matching the lighting, and putting together a finished product, “as if we were doing a re-shoot and doing someone’s side, which happens all the time.”
The careful process of including cut scenes to allow Fisher’s “full human performance” to be untouched, her integration into The Rise of Skywalker is “so complete” she is able to physically interact with other characters, such as the moment she’s hugging Daisy Ridley’s Rey in the trailer. During scenes featuring Lourd, which allowed for talking and touching, Fisher’s daughter “would get emotional and sort of have to excuse herself for a minute.”
Abrams and Co. took the late Fisher’s on-screen appearance in the movie very seriously: “There is an element of the uncanny, spiritual, you know,” the director commented. “Classic Carrie, that it would have happened this way because somehow it worked. And I never thought it would.”
Returning cast members for Rise of Skywalker include Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo and Billie Lourd. Joining the cast are Naomi Ackie (Doctor Who), Richard E. Grant (Logan), Dominic Monaghan (Lord of the Rings), and Keri Russell (The Americans), who will also be joined by veteran Star Wars actors Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels and Billy Dee Williams, who will reprise his role as Lando Calrissian.
The role of Leia Organa will once again be played by Carrie Fisher, using previously unreleased footage shot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Trek) returning to direct the ninth and final installment of the Skywalker saga. Abrams co-wrote the screenplay with Chris Terrio (Argo, Justice League). Composer John Williams, who has scored every chapter in the Star Wars saga since 1977’s A New Hope, will return to a galaxy far, far away with Rise of Skywalker.
The film is produced by Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams and Michelle Rejwan, and executive produced by Callum Greene and Jason McGatlin.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is scheduled for release on December 20.