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J.J. Abrams talks Leia's role in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: “We got to tell the story we would have told had Carrie lived”

(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the ninth instalment in the Skywalker saga, nears cinemas. With only a few weeks to go, many fans are wondering how the trilogy of trilogies will conclude this epic story.

For director J.J. Abrams, there was no way to end the saga without Princess Leia playing a vital role in the final film. However, Carrie Fisher, who played the iconic character, passed away in 2016. There were a few options considered by those at LucasFilm, including creating a CGI Leia and even recasting the Princess-turned-General (something Abrams was heavily against).

There was, however, another way. There was plenty of unused footage from The Force Awakens that featured Fisher's Leia, and Abrams decided to incorporate those scenes into The Rise of Skywalker.

“There are scenes where she’s interacting with other characters in a way that is uncanny,” reveals to our sister publication Total Film in the latest issue. “Hopefully, if it works, it will be an invisible thing and if you didn’t know, you would never know. But we got to tell the story with Leia that we would have told had Carrie lived. And that’s kind of incredible.”

You can read the full article, which features an in-depth look at Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – including quotes from Abrams, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Anthony Daniels – in the latest issue of Total Film magazine, which reaches shelves on November 15. 

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I'm the Entertainment Editor over here at GamesRadar+, bringing you all the latest movie and TV news, reviews and features. I look after all the Total Film and SFX articles that end up on the website and am in charge of their Twitter accounts. So if you see one of them suddenly Tweeting about Lord of the Rings being the best movie series of all time, that's probably me...