As a potential get-around, Disney is reportedly negotiating for Carrie Fisher’s digital rights, having already used CGI-rendering technology to insert a younger version of the actress into the recently released Star Wars: Rogue One, in addition to fully recreating the likeness of Peter Cushing who died in 1994.
There was a critical but not entirely condemnable public response to use of Cushing in the movie, and for Disney the learnings from the experience could pave the way to for it to tie-off Fisher’s Star Wars story act in a similar method.
The Guardian branded Cushing’s resurrection a “digital indignity” that worked “remarkably well”. The scenes in question sparked numerous debates about the ethics of casting a dead actor. Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic reportedly spent a full 18 months capturing a short few minutes of dialogue, using a live-action actor and a digital template applied to the performance like make-up in post. Fisher’s Leia was touted for a substantial role in the final movie of the trilogy having wrapped up her scenes in Episode VIII before she passed.
BBC Newsnight said (via the Guardian) Disney is “with what might be regarded as unseemly haste, Disney is negotiating with the actor’s estate over her continued appearance in the franchise”.
Although it is not confirmed that the liknesses are indeed for the upcoming movie, video games and animated series could use Fisher’s likeness if Disney reaches an agreement, which will no doubt be a desirable outcome.