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Carrie Fisher dead: star’s final performance is still a year away

Carrie Fisher will reprise her role as Princess Leia in Star Wars Episode VIII, it will be released a year after her death. Photo: Supplied Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill in Star Wars.
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Mark Hamill, as Luke Skywalker, and Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, appear in Episode VI, Return of the Jedi. Photo: Lucasfilm/AP.

Carrie Fisher’s Star Wars character Princess Leia appeared in The Force Awakens Photo: Supplied

 Carrie Fisher’s final screen performance as Princess Leia Organa will not be released until the end of 2017.

Filming on the eighth – as yet untitled – Star Wars “saga” film wrapped in July.

It is understood Fisher, who died today after a massive heart attack, has a prominent role in the film as it tackles the re-emergence of her on-screen brother, the Jedi knight Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill).

The film’s director, Rian Johnson, confirmed that principal photography finished on the film in July.

When a film finishes shooting actors are often recalled either to re-record dialogue – known as “ADR”, or additional dialogue recording – or to re-shoot scenes.

The most recent Star Wars film, the “standalone” story Rogue One, included extensive reshoots of the film’s finale.

It is unclear whether there were any finishing touches to Fisher’s performance in Episode VIII which needed attention, but at least for the most part her work on the film was done.

A little less certain is the Disney studio’s plan for the ninth, and final, chapter in the Star Wars saga.

That film is due for release in 2019 and, despite the long lead time, is presently in “pre-production”.

Fisher was slated to appear in that film, along with actor Mark Hamill.

Their original Star Wars co-star Harrison Ford’s character, Han Solo, was spectacularly killed off in episode VII, The Force Awakens, which was released in 2015.

The ninth Star Wars film will conclude the long story arc of the Skywalker family, and its connection to the fall of the Galactic Republic, and the rise (and later fall) of the Empire.

Fisher’s character Princess – later General – Leia is central to that story.

In 1977’s Star Wars she was introduced as an outspoken senator who was a key figure in the rebellion against the Empire.

Later, in 1983’s Return of the Jedi, she was revealed to be the sister of Luke Skywalker, the son of the film’s chief antagonist, Darth Vader.

The original Star Wars trilogy story sits in the middle of the larger Star Wars saga, billed as the fourth, fifth and sixth chapters of the story.

Producer/director George Lucas later filmed the first three “prequel” films, which chronicled the fall of Luke and Leia’s father, the Jedi knight Anakin Skywalker.

Episode IX would not yet have a completed script and would presently amount only to rough story notes managed by Lucasfilm’s chief, Kathleen Kennedy.

Filming on Episode IX is expected to begin in 2018.

Fisher also had a role in the British comedy Catastrophe, and will also appear in the upcoming HBO documentary Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.