[Warning: contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.] Honoring the late Carrie Fisher in The Rise of Skywalker wasn’t going to be an easy task. Yes, there was plenty of previously-unused footage from which J.J. Abrams and co. could draw. They had to; Fisher’s character of Leia Organa, though only on screen briefly, nonetheless featured prominently in the film. One scene in particular, however, required more than simply digitally re-dressing the Star Wars actress from how she appeared previously. We now have confirmation that Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd helped Fisher’s younger self return to the screen.

Young Leia; Billie Lourd
Carrie Fisher as Leia in Return of the Jedi. (Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.)

An important plot point for The Rise of Skywalker was the fact that Leia, after suffering a dark vision of her son’s fate, abandoned her Jedi path. She had actually begun trailing with Luke, on Endor, following the events of Return of the Jedi. We see that in a flashback scene between the two characters. Mark Hamill was de-aged digitally, but the still needed a physical stand-in for Carrie Fisher. Enter Billie Lourd.

Billie Lourd portrays Young Leia in Episode IX

“Billie was playing her mother,” ILM Visual Effects Supervisor Patrick Tubach said in an interview with Yahoo! Entertainment. In doing so he confirmed rumors about Billie Lourd filling in for a younger Leia that had circulated early last year. “It was a poignant thing, and something that nobody took lightly — that she was willing to stand in for her mom.”

Billie Lourd; Star Wars Flashback;
Billie Lourd appears in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as Lt. Connix. (Image: Lucasfilm ltd.)

To create the flashback scene they had to dive deep into the Lucasfilm archives for footage from Return of the Jedi. That source was, of course, limited:

The idea was to provide this great surprise where they take the helmets off, and you see Luke and Leia’s younger faces. We scoured outtakes from the original movies, and we took some pieces and then had to try and figure out the technical aspect of putting that shot together.”

~Visual Effects Supervisor Roger Guyett

The effort paid off. We got to see the young face of our princess in a nostalgically satisfying scene. That scene becomes even more poignant and special knowing it was Billie Lourd that helped her mother Carrie Fisher shine one last time.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters now.

Source: Yahoo! Entertainment