Here’s what the actress playing Princess Leia in “Rogue One” looked like *before* she became Princess Leia
By now, you should know the surprising — and hopeful! — ending of Rogue One, the first stand-alone Star Wars movie. While the movie is not part of the original trilogy (or even, the new trilogy) the events that take place tie directly into Star Wars: A New Hope. The ending of Rogue One actually takes place like, maybe 10-ish minutes before the beginning of A New Hope. That means, one very important character needed to appear to bring it all together.
The final frame of Rogue One has Princess Leia receiving the plans for the Death Star, and utters only one word: “Hope.” You’ve probably heard that the lady up on the screen there was not, in fact, the loved and late Carrie Fisher, but actress Ingvild Deila. Via some hella impressive movie magic (and Industrial Light and Magic), Deila was able to transform into Fsher’s likeness, and was so good, Fisher actually thought it was her.
While we’ve seen this scene in the movie, now it’s time to go behind-the-scenes. One of the special features on the Rogue One DVD and Blu-Ray (out April 4th! And available now to stream digitally) shows us exactly what went into bringing Princess Leia to life on the screen again — and also what she looked like before it happened.
"There wouldn't have been any decision to have a character reappear like this unless [executive producer and visual effects supervisor] John Knoll could assure us that it was gonna be completely believable," Lucasfilm president, Kathleen Kennedy explains. "John felt very strongly that he could do that."
As for director Gareth Edwards, he was a little more hesitant: “It’s a really difficult task [and] we haven’t got a plan B.”
Thankfully, and after many, many takes, they got this scene right. But for this one scene, a whole lot of work went into it.
"It takes a lot of preparation to get into this character, because everyone remembers Leia very well, so it needs to look exactly right," Deila explains in the Rogue One featurette. "[There was a lot of time] spent a lot of time on my hair, obviously. They dyed it twice, and then they added some more extra hair in the front, and also a big chunk of hair to make the buns. And then, all these dots was put on right before they started shooting so they could put Carrie Fisher's face on top of mine and transform me into her, which is a great honor."
The hard work paid off, and thanks to all those little dots (movie magic might be weird, but it is sophisticated) we get a tiny glimpse of Princess Leia, just before she squares off against Darth Vader.
You can learn more Leia secrets, and so many other wonderful Star Wars things, by snagging a copy of Rogue One.