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– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Late last year, the amazing Carrie Fisher passed away. This was a real knife into the gut of Star Wars fans worldwide. For decades, she’d won the hearts of audiences as the charismatic and influential Princess Leia. Generations fell in love with her, and in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Fisher reprised her role as the now-General Leia.

Following Fisher’s passing, there were a lot of questions surrounding how Lucasfilm should handle it going forward, as she has a key role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and if she survives, it could pose a problem in the future. Should they recreate her with CG, should they write her out completely, or should they recast her?

Ultimately, Lucasfilm settled on writing her out of the series, out of respect for her and her family, and while I’d hate to be disrespectful of that approach, I think it was a big mistake.

In my opinion, they should have recast her.

While the knee-jerk reaction would be to reject this idea, hear me out. The filmmakers for Episode IX already had a story in mind, and in that story, Leia likely played a role, as evidenced by the following statement from Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy:

“Obviously, with Carrie having passed away, it shook everybody. We pretty much started over.”

Luckily, with Star Wars: The Last Jedi, she had already shot her part, so there was no need to change it, but it was obvious that something would need to be done regarding Episode IX. Lucasfilm had already rejected the idea of recreating Leia with CG, as they did in Rogue One. This was out of respect for Fisher herself and her family. With that in mind, recasting her also seemed to be out of the picture.

At this point, it now becomes a question of importance. What is more important: retaining the integrity of the planned story, or retaining continuity of Princess Leia?

Obviously, fans have grown used to Carrie Fisher playing the character, so there’s a tendency to skew towards the latter. Only one person can play Leia, and that’s Carrie Fisher, right?

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I personally believe that the integrity of her character and the story she is servicing is more important. Now, I mean no disrespect to Fisher or her family, but I’d much rather have Star Wars send her off as they intended than have her just disappear from the story altogether, never to be seen again.

This, I believe, serves more of a disservice to the character than allowing her to complete her arc with a different actor. Hiring another actor to take the baton the last 100 meters is something that would admittedly feel strange, but when all said and done, would allow Lucasfilm to tell the story as initially intended, and would allow both the story and character to retain their integrity. Plus, nowhere would we feel like they were pulling back on her, and nowhere would we feel that there’s a lapse in logic in terms of when her character should be involved in the plot.

Of course, that’s not to say that fans who look at Fisher’s interpretation of the character as paramount are wrong. Everyone will weigh these two aspects differently. However, as a storyteller and a story consumer, to me the story is the most important aspect. So while I understand the move from Lucasfilm, and I understand the desire fans have for only Fisher to play Leia, but when all said and done, I believe going forward with another actress would have been the best move for Star Wars.

But that’s only my opinion. What’s yours? Do you think Lucasfilm should have made the right choice, or do you agree with me? Let us know down below!

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Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.