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Star Wars: Episode IX: Carrie Fisher's Brother Teases Satisfying, Meaningful Leia Appearance

Carrie Fisher may be gone, but neither she nor her iconic Star Wars princess-turned-general will ever be forgotten. 

When the late, great Fisher sings her Star Wars swan song in Episode IX, with director J.J. Abrams utilizing footage captured for but not implemented in The Force Awakens, there won't be a dry eye or untouched heart in any theater. And while we've heard various reports over the two years since Fisher's passing about the capacity of her final, posthumous appearance as Leia Organa, the actress' brother, Todd Fisher, recently teased that her turn will be quite significant — more than a mere cameo and certainly not comprised of just Force Awakens outtakes that were left on the cutting room floor. 

"There's a lot of minutes of footage. I don't mean just outtakes," said Todd when speaking with Good Morning America. "This is unused, new content that could be woven into the storyline. That's what's going to give everybody such a great kick. It's going to look like it was meant to be. Like it was shot yesterday."

Todd continued, sharing that he and his family are incredibly pleased with the decisions Abrams made in choosing how Fisher's General Leia will be presented in the upcoming Star Wars saga installment. 

"We're not allowed to talk about the details of anything," he said. "But we're thrilled at what's been done."

Above all else, Todd stated that he couldn't be happier to see his sister's memory honored and her and Leia's powerful legacies live on. 

"She was able to be such a shining light, and was able to create such beautiful words and great art in every discipline she put her mind or hand to," shared Todd. "I love it when people stand up and tell me how much they admired her and how much inspiration she was to them."

In the months following Fisher's untimely death in December 2016, the fate of the Star Wars franchise hung in the air, with questions swirling around the series regarding how Episode IX would address her passing, whether The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson would be the one to say goodbye to Leia or if that would end up Abrams' job, how a Leia-less Star Wars would impact the rest of the characters' storylines, and whether Adam Driver's villainous Kylo Ren might turn to the light side now that both his mother and father are gone. 

The Last Jedi didn't end up touching on Fisher's passing, though it did feature Leia getting injured after using the Force (!!!) to pull herself back aboard her ship following an explosion and later spending the majority of the film recuperating before returning to the action to head up the Resistance's evacuation to the abandoned Rebel Alliance base on Crait. Many took Leia's Last Jedi arc — especially the "Irish goodbye" seen in final moments of the film, in which Leia fades away into the background — as the first step in the character's farewell, allowing for a smoother transition from movie to movie rather than an abrupt conclusion. In actuality, though, her death didn't change The Last Jedi at all; everything was as Johnson had originally intended. 

Since then, Fisher's ties to Episode IX have been severed, re-formed, cut again, and then attached once more.

Mark Hamill once commented that Leia was "meant to be more prominent" in Episode IX and former director Colin Trevorrow promised she would be honored in the film; Lucasfilm previously confirmed that Fisher wouldn't be in the film and that the studio wouldn't craft a digital version of Leia in place of a physical Fisher; Todd himself also stepped forward to say that there is no way Fisher could or should be left out of Episode IX, and that her legacy would continue; Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy subsequently stated that Todd might have been "confused" and that Fisher "will not be in" the movie; and finally, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Leia is definitely a part of the impending installment. 

Though there's no longer any doubt about Fisher's involvement in Episode IX, it still remains a mystery what her final turn will entail. However, a leaked description of Episode IX footage claims that Leia will wield and ignite a "classic Jedi lightsaber" in a "tantalizing" sequence in the film. 

"Leia [is] on a world that appears to be a mix between Endor, Tatooine and Jakku. This may be the (Outer Rim) planet of Batuu. Leia is dressed in a black outfit almost like a robe. Leia is with Maz Kanata, C-3PO and R2-D2, holding the Skywalker lightsaber and examining it," the description reads. "She begins to hold it in a Jedi-like stance and activates it, pointing it towards a city that looks like it has gone through battle ... This does not indicate that Leia is a Jedi. The stance is done more in a victorious way. It could be the site of a First Order defeat."

Lucasfilm has, as expected, kept mum on the legitimacy of this scene summary, but it's fun to imagine Leia lighting up the Skywalker saber and making an impactful impression during her last moments as part of the Star Wars story. Regardless of what Leia actually gets up to in Episode IX, her send-off is bound to be an emotional one. 

Pack extra tissues when you head out to see Star Wars: Episode IX in theaters on December 20.