Since Carrie Fisher’s passing in December 2016, there have been many questions about the fate of General Leia Organa. At the time of her death, Fisher had completed her work on The Last Jedi, and was set to be a major part of the Star Wars Episode IX. Speaking with Vanity Fair months after Fisher’s passing, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy revealed that the script — written by director Colin Trevorrow, who has since left the project — had to be reconfigured because Leia was supposed to be the central figure.
But since Leia is alive at the end of The Last Jedi, many have wondered how the next installment of the iconic space epic would tackle Fisher’s absence. Initial reports, fueled by a statement from Fisher’s brother Todd, speculated that Lucasfilm was still planning to incorporate Leia into the story using CGI and archive footage to digitally recreate the iconic character. Kennedy later shut down those rumors, saying that unfortunately, Fisher passing meant that we wouldn’t be seeing Leia in Episode IX.
Now there are rumors that Leia *will* be in Star Wars Episode IX after all — with Meryl Streep taking over as the iconic general.
According to Star Wars fan site Dork Side of the Force, rumors of Streep’s casting have been prompted by an online petition that still wants to see Leia in the ninth installment and puts forth Streep as the perfect candidate to take on the roll. Streep, a longtime friend of the late actress, starred as a fictional version of Fisher in Postcards From The Edge, which the Star Wars actress adapted from her own semi-autobiographical novel. The petition reads,
While we think this is certainly well-intentioned, it seems highly unlikely that Streep will actually be taking over the role.
Knowing that Fisher died without having fully completed Leia’s arc is something that’ll probably frustrate fans forever — as it should because it’s sad that the Fisher never got to have that final moment and we’ll never get to see it. However, it’s something fans are going to have to come to terms with, because it would be a disservice to both the iconic character and the late actress to recast the role for Episode IX. Frankly, it wouldn’t provide closure for the character as much as it would be a distraction, and that’s not something Lucasfilm would risk with a character like Leia.
That’s not to say that Streep wouldn’t be an incredible addition to the franchise, because she would be so good. But if Lucasfilm is seriously looking to replace Leia — and again, they’re probably not — let’s hope they’re just looking for another incredible female general to lead the resistance and spar with Poe Dameron, not the iconic general.