The Last Jedi Director Reflects On Carrie Fisher’s Legacy

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“I will say this: It’s a hell of a trailer.” That’s Rian Johnson there, describing his reaction to Sunday’s barnstorming full trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, in which Supreme Leader Snoke appeared to be courting Kylo Ren (or should that be Rey?) toward the dark side.

And that’s merely scratching the surface. Since ESPN’s halftime interval during Monday Night Football, the Internet has been awash with weird and wonderful fan theories relating to Snoke, the First Order, Luke Skywalker and Daisy Ridley’s Jakku orphan, Rey, who at the very least showed some signs of confusion and uncertainty amid all the action. “I need someone to show me my place in all of this.”

For Kylo Ren, though, Adam Driver’s estranged Jedi is poised to cross paths with General Leia Organa, which doesn’t exactly bode well for Carrie Fisher’s series stalwart considering how things panned out for Han Solo, who was last seen plunging into the foggy abyss on Starkiller Base. However that may be, The Last Jedi will hold a special place in the hearts of Star Wars fans as it’ll signal Fisher’s final appearance, and while breaking down Sunday’s sizzle reel with Yahoo! Movies, writer-director Rian Johnson remembered the late actress fondly.

She was so conscious of the place that Leia had, not just broadly in the culture, but very specifically in terms of girls who grew up watching Star Wars when Leia was the only female hero on the screen. She really wanted to do right by that, drawing the character forward. That was something that she would always be pulling us back to.

Not only that, but Carrie Fisher quickly became something of a creative consultant to Rian Johnson, who recalled the moments in which Fisher ensured General Leia Organa was being handled correctly.

And for me it was fantastic, because besides all the other benefits of having a fantastic writer like Carrie there by my side while we’re making this movie, just having a voice that was like a compass needle that would always pull it back in the right direction of, this is what this character means and this is what we always have to make sure that she’s serving, with her strength and also with her weaknesses — showing a fully realized character who is going to be inspiring to the folks who grew up with Leia.

And what a send-off it’ll be. Remember, Star Wars: The Last Jedi won’t kill off Leia, but rather write her out of the franchise entirely. That effectively rules her out of an appearance in J.J. Abrams’ untitled Episode IX, after the Powers That Be decided against resurrecting Fisher through the power of CGI.

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