Digital Leia Might Not Happen, But It’s Definitely Possible
Speaking about the future of Princess Leia, Mark Hamill recently said, “They’ve already ruled out the idea of, you know, computer generating a performance like they did with Peter Cushing.” Of course, where special effects are concerned, nothing’s ever set in stone, and VFX supervisor Ben Morris recently confirmed that the steps have been taken to make CG Leia a possibility. “We will always scan all the lead actors in the film,” he told Inverse. “We don’t know if we’re going to need them. We don’t intentionally scan them as an archive process. It’s for reference later.”
However, creating a digital character is far more complicated than it looks. In discussing the CG Leia that floats through space in The Last Jedi, digital animator Stephen Alpin reveals that the contribution of the living Carrie Fisher was essential. “We had to do CG work and re-project her onto a CG version of the character,” he explained. “We kept her performance pretty much intact and were matching, where needed, with any animation stuff. It was pretty much all Carrie.”
For those who want a better idea of what a completely digital Carrie Fisher might look like, Morris uses the floating-in-space sequence to explain where you’ve seen her before. “As she’s sucked out, she’s a digital Leia,” he said. “As we pull in closer, that’s all Carrie, and flying back through the detritus, that was a mixture.”
The Last Jedi is now available on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray. Read our review of the home video release here, and check out the trailer below.