Effects Supervisors Explain How Star Wars: Episode IX Resurrected Carrie Fisher

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The biggest challenge facing J.J. Abrams and his collaborators on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was their desire to include the late Carrie Fisher in the film. While outtakes from The Force Awakens proved to be a worthwhile starting point, visual effects supervisors Roger Guyett and Patrick Tubach confirmed in a recent interview that the task of bringing General Leia Organa back to the screen was a little more complicated than simply incorporating old footage.

“We’ve taken her face and built a digital character around her,” Guyett told Cinema Blend. “That’s the layer that you see in IX. The interesting thing, of course, is it’s not a trivial thing to just do that. You have to build her and stage her into all the scenes. You have to write the scenes around her performance and dialogue that she’s delivering from those performances… it’s not the easy option, but you also want to integrate her into the scenes. We wanted her to move.”

This made it necessary to use a body double, but Tubach explained that this person had to work with the same precision as the effects team, carefully emulating the work of Fisher. “The thing that we had to do, which people probably don’t realize, is we analyzed that Episode VII footage of her to the point where we were tracking her exact body and posture, and then applying that to our new scene as well,” he said. “Because if you didn’t do that, it didn’t feel like her.”

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theatres now. Read our review here and check out the trailer below.