Report: Disney negotiating with Carrie Fisher's estate to keep digital Leia in Star Wars

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May 4, 2017, 10:34 AM EDT (Updated)

UPDATE: Disney and Lucasfilm have issued a statement that puts the rumors of Carrie Fisher being digitally recreated to bed. You can read about it here. 

Fans the world over are still mourning the tragic death of Carrie Fisher, but in Hollywood, the Powers That Be are already discussing what will happen to Leia Organa ... including possibly keeping the character alive.

Last week, reports circulated that Star Wars: Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy were meeting to discuss what will happen to General Leia now that Fisher is no longer with us. Fisher had already wrapped shooting on Episode VIII, but she reportedly had a big role to play in IX, leaving Lucasfilm with a big hole in its story and a few different options for how to fill it.

Leia could be given an offscreen death and be written out of IX altogether, VIII could be seriously reworked in reshoots ... or the same technology employed in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story could be used to keep Leia in the mix.

This week, BBC Newsnight ran a report on how technology allowed Rogue One's filmmakers to create CG versions of the late Peter Cushing and a younger Fisher to add continuity to the film. That in itself isn't news, but the report also dropped this interesting tidbit (transcription via Star Wars News Net, as the video is not available in the U.S.):

"And if [sic] what might be regarded as unseemly haste, Disney is negotiating with the actor's estate over her continued appearance in the franchise. If Disney gets the go-ahead, Carrie Fisher will join Peter Cushing ..."

Before we go any further, a few things to note. First, the report only says "negotiating," and that covers a broad range of things, including discussions that are nowhere near a done deal.

Second, we have no idea if these negotiations are because Lucasfilm wants to digitially replace Fisher or because they're simply keeping all of their options open.

And third, if we set those issues aside, we still don't know how much digital character use we're talking about.

All that said, this is really hard to think about for those of us who loved Fisher, and I'm sure it's hard for her collaborators as well. The show is going on, though, one way or another.

What do you think? Should Leia return without Fisher?