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The Last Jedi Director Talks Carrie Fisher's 'Beautiful' Performance

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Once a princess, always a princess. 

Carrie Fisher's performance as General Leia Organa in Star Wars: The Last Jedi was fit for royalty–but it may have surprised some viewers considering the film was completed and released after her unexpected death in late 2016. At the time of her passing (and for months after), the question on everyone's mind was how writer-director Rian Johnson would complete The Last Jedi and if he would change anything about the film following the tragedy. So how does what we witnessed in theaters compare to what was initially supposed to happen?

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Johnson opened up about Fisher's "beautiful" portrayal of the quick and clever Leia, explaining that he didn't actually change anything about her narrative. Because what Fisher had done with the character in The Last Jedi was so stunning and complete before she passed, Johnson felt that if he to tried to alter Leia's storyline after the fact, it would feel forced. 

"[The possibility of changing the film] was very first conversation I had with [Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy] after we came back, after New Year's. I kind of looked through the footage. That was the very first question," Johnson began. "I felt really strongly that what we have here is so beautiful and the way that the character develops, the way it's paid off [is as well.]" 

He added that he couldn't fathom the "horror of trying to manufacture... something for the end of this movie that leaves it in a place where the transition is easier," and that addressing Fisher's death through insincere means brought about a major worry. "[There was] the idea of, 'Oh God, how would you fake something like that, and how would it not be terrible?'" Johnson said.

The Last Jedi saw Fisher's Leia using the Force to avoid death after the First Order destroyed part of the Resistance's ship. Sadly, she was left incapacitated for the first half of the movie, making a grand reappearance later on when she greets Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and literally zaps some sense into him after he went a bit rogue trying to save the remaining members of the Resistance. The last fans caught of Leia was in the final scene, during which she reassures Rey (Daisy Ridley) that the Resistance can be rebuilt even with a small number of Rebels on hand, because that's all they need to rise again.

Johnson stated that he felt "really strongly" that this narrative for Leia was the one to go with, and that Episode IX director and co-writer J.J. Abrams will undoubtedly find a way to close Leia's story down the line.

"We have a beautiful, complete performance from [Fisher] that I think audiences deserve to see, and I think it will mean a lot for them, that ray of hope from Leia. For all of those reasons, I felt really strongly that we had to let this fly," said Johnson. "Luckily, we have a fantastic storyteller in J.J. Abrams, who is going to figure out a way to bring it home in the end. That's going to be satisfying... With this movie, I just wanted audiences to have this performance."

We think we speak for most when we say we're thankful Johnson stuck to his guns.