Star Wars featurette reveals new behind-the-scenes footage from Leia’s scenes in Rise of Skywalker

A new Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker behind-the-scenes feature has offered an emotional glimpse into Billie Lourd’s stand-in scenes as her mother Carrie Fisher’s character General Leia Organa.

As shown on Good Morning America, the preview for “The Skywalker Legacy,” the documentary included as part of the Rise of Skywalker digital release on March 17, includes shots of a teary-eyed Daisy Ridley and a stoic J.J. Abrams filming the very first Leia scene without Carrie Fisher, a process that was achieved through special effects and more practical methods, such as mimicking the lighting of unused Leia footage in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

“We don’t have the most important person with us,” Abrams said while addressing the cast and crew prior to Rise of Skywalker’s first Leia scene. “The reality of having to do a scene with someone who isn’t actually there is challenging,” Ridley added.

It’s Lourd, though, who had the unique – and heartwrenching – task of stepping into the shoes her mother made so famous across multiple decades.

“Being back has been incredible, painful, surreal – all of the adjectives you could come up with, probably, I felt,” Loud said.

We even get to see Lourd, for the very first time, swinging a lightsaber, portraying a younger Leia in training during post-Return of the Jedi flashback scenes. The sequence also used Return of the Jedi outtakes, something that was confirmed by VFX supervisor Roger Guyett back in January.

Throughout, it’s clear that the reverence everyone holds for Fisher and Lourd is immense. Whatever your thoughts on Episode 9 – it ultimately did right by Leia, a powerful presence to the very end.

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Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.