Before her death in 2016, the final film in the Skywalker saga was intended to belong to Carrie Fisher, and her iconic character Leia Organa. Director J.J. Abrams has always maintained that this was the intent of the overall arc of the new trilogy. But after her death, which occurred before The Rise of Skywalker started shooting, he had to scramble to find a new direction for the film. Though we’ve never known for sure what her story would be in Episode IX, in a new interview with Fisher’s brother Todd, he says Leia was going to become a full-fledged Jedi in The Rise of Skywalker.
“She was going to be the big payoff in the final film,” Todd Fisher told Yahoo Entertainment. “She was going to be the last Jedi, so to speak. People used to say to me, ‘Why is it that Carrie never gets a lightsaber and chops up some bad guys,’” Fisher said. “Obi-Wan was in his prime when he was Carrie’s age!”
The Yahoo article notes that Leia would have wielded her own lightsaber in the original version of the film, but after her death, Abrams was forced to abandon that idea and work with previously unused footage from The Force Awakens.
“The truth is that J.J. Abrams was great friends with Carrie… he had an extraordinary sense of love for her,” Todd Fisher said. “They had eight minutes of footage,” Fisher tells us. “They grabbed every frame and analyzed it… and then reverse-engineered it and [got] it into the story the right way. It’s kind of magical.”
Fisher’s Leia turning out to be the last great Jedi, saving the Resistance with a lightsaber in hand would have been an incredible and powerful conclusion for the saga. For now, given the tragic circumstances, it seems that the final movie in this historic saga is in good hands with Abrams.