Carrie Fisher’s death nearly changed the plot of Star Wars: The Last Jedi – but here’s why it didn’t

Exclusive: director Rian Johnson admits there was a “brief conversation” about cutting or altering the late actor’s part in Episode VIII following her passing last year

Billie Lourd and Carrie Fisher in Star Wars

The death of iconic Star Wars actor Carrie Fisher last December lends a sad, nostalgic air to latest chapter The Last Jedi, which sees her display new sides to her most famous character as she brings Princess Leia to life one last time.

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And while it had already been reported that Fisher’s passing changed the proposed storyline for the upcoming Star Wars: Episode IX (which was due to feature Leia prominently), it’s now emerged that there were talks within LucasFilm about also altering The Last Jedi to in some way lay the groundwork for Leia’s now-inevitable exit, despite the fact that Fisher had completed all her filming already when she died.

“There was a very brief conversation I had with Kathy [Kennedy, LucasFilm president], after Carrie passed,” The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson admitted to RadioTimes.com.

“But there was no way I could see to try and manufacture some other ending for the character in this movie, that a) would be emotionally satisfying and b) would not require losing some of the scenes that she had in this movie, which I think are emotional and beautiful.

He concluded: “I wanted the fans to have those scenes.”

Instead, as we’ve written elsewhere, the new movie acknowledges Fisher’s death in a sweeter, subtler way in a special message displayed at the end of the adventure:  “In loving memory of our Princess, Carrie Fisher.”

Presumably, it’s now up to Episode IX writer/director JJ Abrams to come up with the perfect way to send Leia on her final voyage. We don’t envy him.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi is in UK cinemas now