It seems to be more or less accepted now that Star Wars 8, the second film in the new trilogy, will expand the role of General #Leia Organa beyond her small, but essential, contributions to The Force Awakens. While that's obviously a good thing, it also poses a problem for the directors and writers of both Episode 8 and Episode 9 — in the wake of Carrie Fisher's death, how do they write Leia out of #StarWars in a way that's both satisfying and respectful, without compromising the story being told?
A meeting between Disney and Colin Trevorrow, director of Episode 9, is happening this month to decide how he wants to proceed (that film's script was apparently already being written). Reading between the lines, it sounds as if Disney are leaning toward doing the right thing (killing off Leia) rather than the technologically-possible but demented thing (trying to reanimate an actress whose spark can't possibly be recreated by CGI for the duration of a whole film). It seems to me there's really just one option here — Leia has to be killed, on-screen, ideally toward the end of #StarWars8.
That would require extensive reshoots, clearly, as well as some hasty CGI in terms of creating a death scene using motion capture and existing footage of Fisher shot by Rian Johnson and J.J. Abrams, which, as we saw with both Tarkin and the younger Leia in Rogue One, is possible. But, putting those logistical issues aside, Leia's death, although heartbreaking, would actually open up quite an interesting creative possibility — that the man who, in The Force Awakens, committed an act so awful there could never be any redemption, might suddenly get a second chance.
Leia's Death Could Spark Kylo Ren's Redemption
I'm talking, of course, about #KyloRen. In Star Wars, things have a habit of coming full circle, so it would be strangely fitting if Kylo, who seemingly crossed over to the dark side for good upon murdering Han Solo, was brought back to the light by a powerful combination of grief and guilt following the death of his mother.
If we read this saga as being ultimately a story of hope (a point hammered home throughout #RogueOne), it's kind of inevitable that the character who (arguably) represents the biggest threat to the galaxy right now will ultimately redeem himself, while Snoke becomes more powerful and assumes a Palpatine-esque architect of chaos role (I previously theorized that Snoke's ultimate goal might be to achieve essence transfer, a thorny science which has held considerable allure to some of the galaxy's darkest Sith lords. If so, Kylo Ren will outlive his usefulness sooner or later).
More Star Wars reading:
- Princess Leia Has An Even Bigger Role In Episode 8
- Remember Carrie Fisher, The Brilliant Hollywood Rebel
- Leia's 'Force Awakens' Deleted Scenes Will Hit You Right In The Feels
- 8 Surprising/Insane Stories J.J. Abrams Cut From 'The Force Awakens'
In creative terms, it wouldn't be particularly satisfying if Leia died just for her role to be assumed by another high-ranking member of the Resistance and all to continue as before. The death of Carrie Fisher aside, there has to be a reason to kill her in-world. Imagine instead that her death proved the catalyst for Kylo Ren to switch allegiances and use his insider knowledge of the First Order to help the Resistance gain the upper hand — in that scenario, Leia's death would leave behind a legacy and a place in the history books. It would make sense creatively.
Rian Johnson's sequel is now less than a year away, but it feels like there's a lot of work to be done on Star Wars 8 to make sure that both Carrie Fisher and General Leia get the send-offs they deserve. Expect news to keep breaking on that front in the next few months, before Episode 8 hits on December 15, 2017.
What's the best way to handle Leia's death? Should it happen in Episode 8 or 9, and could it be the catalyst that brings Kylo back to the light?
(Image Source: Marco Pagnotta)