Carrie Fisher had wrapped Star Wars 8 with larger role

The tragic death of Carrie Fisher dealt a blow to Star Wars fans everywhere, but it could also impact the future direction of the franchise.

Fisher reprised her iconic role as Leia Organa in The Force Awakens, and Deadline reports that she had completed filming for the upcoming Episode VIII. According to sources close to the production, Leia plays a larger role in the storyline, and Fisher was also expected to return for Episode IX. But filming for that sequel won't begin for about a year.

It makes sense that Leia would be a more prominent figure in Episode VIII. She now serves as a general for the Resistance and, after the events of The Force Awakens, the Resistance will be fighting for control of the galaxy. And with her brother Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) back in the mix, Leia would likely have a reunion coming.

But the news that Fisher was to be involved in Episode IX means there's a chance that Lucasfilm will need to alter her story arc to account for her absence. Of course, the studio proved with Rogue One that it can use CG technology to bring deceased actors back to the screen. But how it will all play out remains to be seen.

Either way, the loss of Fisher has had a profound effect on her Star Wars family. Hamill tweeted that he's "devastated," and Harrison Ford released a statement (via TheWrap) saying Fisher was "one-of-a-kind," "brilliant," and "fearless."

While we continue to mourn, watch her original Star Wars audition below.