Disney is reportedly negotiating with Carrie Fisher’s estate for the rights to use the actor’s digital image in future Star Wars film. According to the BBC’s Newsnight programme, “with what might be regarded as unseemly haste, Disney is negotiating with the actor’s estate over her continued appearance in the franchise.”
Fisher’s likeness as the young Princess Leia in the original 1977 Star Wars was digitally rendered and appeared in the final frames of prequel Rogue One – along with Peter Cushing’s. As filming occurred prior to Fisher’s death, her permission was presumably obtained. However, reports have emerged of discussions between the makers of Episodes VIII and IX, as Leia had been expected to play a significant part in both films. Apart from the technical challenge, a number of ethical considerations emerged in the wake of Cushing’s “resurrection” in Rogue One, 22 years after his death.
The BBC’s use of the words “continuing appearance” suggest the film-makers are considering using Fisher’s digital image in future films, although there are also other ancillary uses, such as video games. Fisher had reportedly completed filming on Episode VIII, directed by Rian Johnson, so it is possible that any significant digital resurrection would be reserved for Episode IX, which has Jurassic World’s Colin Trevorrow on board as director.