The film will use previously unseen footage of Carrie Fisher

By Jodi Guglielmi
April 12, 2019 12:21 PM

Carrie Fisher may be gone, but her Star Wars legacy will live on forever.

Fisher will appear in Star Wars: Episode IX as General Leia Organa, some three years after her unexpected death.

Director J.J. Abrams addressed her appearance while speaking at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago on Friday, confirming the news that the film will use previously unused footage of the actress from The Force Awakens.

“As I’ve said, we couldn’t,” Abrams said of filling the void. “We all talked about how to move on. She was the best, she was glorious, she was amazing. We all just loved her. It was impossible, there was no way. You don’t recast that part, and you don’t have her disappear. Using CGI was out of the question.”

George Whitear/Lucasfilm

He continued, “There was actually a way to use those scenes to continue her story. And the crazy thing is, every day it hits me that she’s not here, but it’s so surreal because we’re working with her in scenes. She is alive in these scenes, and in some with Billie [Lourd], her daughter. Princess Leia lives in this film in a way that is mind-blowing to me.”

Carrie Fisher filming The Last Jedi

Earlier this year, Fisher’s brother Todd spoke to ABC News about his sister’s inclusion in the film.

“There’s a lot of minutes of footage. I don’t mean just outtakes,” Todd said. “This is unused, new content that could be woven into the storyline. That’s what’s going to give everybody such a great kick. It’s going to look like it was meant to be. Like it was shot yesterday.”

He continued, “We’re not allowed to talk about the details of anything … But we’re thrilled at what’s been done.”

RELATED VIDEO: Carrie Fisher Remembered by her Star Wars Castmates

And last year, Abrams released a statement assuring fans they had no plans to recast Fisher’s iconic character.

RELATED: Carrie Fisher to Appear in Next Star Wars via ‘Unseen Footage’ with Billie Lourd’s Blessing

“We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” Abrams said. “Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast, or use a CG character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie, we have found a way to honor Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII.

Star Wars: Episode IX is set to premiere December 20, 2019.