Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker writer Chris Terrio reveals they executed Leia Organa’s surprise flashback scene using Star Wars: Return of the Jedi footage. It’s been weeks since the Skywalker saga officially closed out via J.J. Abrams’ film. The movie tried to tie up loose plot ends together and provide Star Wars fans a satisfying culminating film. Aside from the big task of rounding up all three trilogies for a final movie, it also had the enormous task of incorporating Carrie Fisher’s beloved character with very little footage.

The untimely death of Fisher before production even began for The Rise of Skywalker posed some big issues for Lucasfilm. It’s no secret that the final movie in the sequel trilogy was tipped to revolve around her character after Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi centered on Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) respectively. Disney had other options including to digitally recreate the actress like they did with Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but they immediately ruled that out, as well as the idea of recasting the role. In the end, Abrams and his team made do with unused footage of Fisher from The Force Awakens, amounting to eight minutes, which was what ended up in the film with slight tweaks.

One unexpected Leia scene in The Rise of Skywalker, however, was made possible thanks to footage from while she filmed Return of the Jedi in the early ’80s. In the scene, fans were treated with a look at young Luke and Leia training with their lightsabers. Apparently, Leia was going to be a Jedi like her brother and father, but gave it up when she sensed that her son with Han Solo would die if she pursued it. In a new interview with THR, Terrio revealed that the shot of the actress used in the aforementioned scene was from the dailies of Return of the Jedi.

The scene in question is quite cool as it’s really the only time fans see Leia wielding her own lightsaber. For years, many questioned why she didn’t become a Jedi when she’s also strong with the Force - The Last Jedi even doubled down on this. While the bit didn’t revel much, seeing the twins hone their skills was a pleasant surprise. All that being said, the reasoning behind Leia’s decision to give up the idea of becoming a Jedi still doesn’t make sense. According to Luke’s recollection, Leia discontinued her Jedi training because she sensed that her son, Ben Solo (Adam Driver) would die if she moved forward with it. Regardless, Ben still met his end after years of assuming the persona of Kylo Ren. In fact, the whole Solo family was dead at the end of the sequel trilogy.

“We also had access to the dailies from the original trilogy, and in the flashback of Luke and Leia, that image of Carrie comes from Return of the Jedi. So, we had access to everything in the archive, which turned out to be super helpful. So, yeah, the original trilogy was on our table for the flashback and for audio.”

To be fair, however, considering what Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker had to work with in terms of navigating Leia’s character, they somehow pulled it off. Obviously, there are some glaring issues and unresolved mysteries, but in the end, its a poignant and emotional send-off to a such beloved character. Fans would just have to move on wondering what the film would’ve looked like if Fisher is still around and was able to work on it.

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Source: THR