A new Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker behind-the-scenes video reveals how J.J. Abrams and his team was able to bring back Carrie Fisher’s Leia Organa in the movie. The actress reprised her Star Wars role in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens and returned in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Sadly, her untimely death in late 2016 hindered her having a bigger role in the Skywalker saga capper.

It’s no secret that the final movie in the sequel trilogy was tipped to revolve around Leia after The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi centered on Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) respectively. Lucasfilm ruled out the possibility of digitally re-creating the character like they did with Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story or recasting the role. Abrams and his team only  had unused footage of Fisher from The Force Awakens, amounting to eight minutes. Now, fans can see how they made everything work in The Rise of Skywalker.

In an interview with Vanity Fair co-visual effects supervisor Roger Guyett breaks down their mindset when bringing Leia to life in The Rise of Skywalker. The outlet also revealed a behind-the-scenes video chronicling the ingenuous process in making sure that Fisher’s scenes were seamlessly incorporated in the film - as if she was really there which was the idea of the filmmakers. YouTube channel ILMVFX uploaded the full video, which you can watch below.

The Rise of Skywalker VFX team are among the nominees for this year’s Academy Awards’ Best Visual Effects. It’s going up against worthy competitors like fellow Disney productions such as Jon Favreau’s The Lion King and Joe and Anthony Russo’s Avengers: Endgame, as well as Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman and and Sam Mendes’ 1917. Each film nominated brought something different to the table when it comes to the effects they utilized in their respective films - be it creating worlds or de-aging characters. Star Wars 9’s VFX, on the other hand, is especially pivotal as it also deals with the sensitive subject of sending a beloved character off whose actress died untimely.

“When you watch the movie you just want to believe that Carrie’s there, and it’s just completely natural within the scene. Basing it around the performances that she’d given us previously was the key. We often used motion control. You’ll notice that she has a different hairstyle, she’s wearing different wardrobe, all of those things. I always thought, when we were doing these shots, that everyone’s looking at her face. That was the thing that we held onto, and then we fixed everything else.”

As divisive as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was, it’s objectively fair to say that they were able to pull a good send off for Leia given the unfortunate circumstances. And the film was able to pull that off because of the impressive VFX work Guyett and the rest of his team for the movie. Whether or not it’s enough for them to edge out the other nominees and win the Oscar is something fans will find out this weekend at the Academy Awards ceremony.

More: Colin Trevorrow’s Star Wars 9 Sounds Better Than JJ Abrams’ Rise of Skywalker

Source: Vanity Fair, ILMVFX