2016 is a year that will live in infamy as a year marked with celebrity deaths.
In a statement given to People, Billie Lourd (Fisher’s 24-year-old daughter) said:
“She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly. Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers.”
Fisher’s death comes on the heels of the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, in which she* reprises her most famous role, Princess Leia (*a younger version of Fisher made an appearance CGI’d in over actress Ingvild Deila).
At the time of her death, Fisher had completed filming for the as-yet untitled eight installment of the Star Wars franchise.
Though we know it’s too soon to ask, what does Fisher’s death mean for the last two episodes of the Star Wars saga?
There are several distinct possibilities:
Leia’s death is written into Episode VIII
Although Episode VIII is already in post-production, Leia’s storyline is unknown. While we doubt that she was going to be given a Han Solo style sendoff with an up-close-and-personal death, she could be aboard a starship that blows up (or a planet, we know the First Order likes to blow those up).
Leia dies sometime between Episode VIII and Episode IX
If Leia not dying is integral to the plot of Episode VIII (though the Star Wars series is known for killing off mentor-characters), she may die offscreen, before Episode IX. The final episode could begin with a funeral for Leia. This is, for my money, the most respectful option to both the series and its late star.
Leia gets CGI’d into Episode IX
Rogue One proved that Star Wars isn’t above having deceased actors make CGI appearances when Peter Cushing (who died in 1994) was animated over actor Guy Henry, shocking some fans, who would likely be against Leia in Episode IX as a CGI character.