Carrie Fisher's daughter plays Leia in special Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker scene

Billie Lourd pays the ultimate tribute to her mom.

Bonnie Burton
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
Bonnie Burton
2 min read

Actor Billie Lourd as Lieutenant Kaydel Connix stands next to her mom Carrie Fisher playing General Leia in the new Star Wars films.


Leia Organa is a pivotal character in the entire story arc of the Star Wars saga. However, even though Carrie Fisher tragically passed away three years ago, the Star Wars actor still got to finish her tale on the big screen in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker posthumously, thanks to previously cut footage.

While General Leia's onscreen presence in The Rise of Skywalker was possible due to unused footage from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, there was one pivotal scene that had to be created from scratch by the ILM VFX team and a special guest star -- Fisher's own daughter Billie Lourd

Lourd is already present in the new Star Wars film as the character Lieutenant Kaydel Connix. Her character coordinated communications during the Starkiller Base raid, and she also helped organize the evacuation of D'Qar and served aboard the Raddus.

But in The Rise of Skywalker, Lourd didn't just reprise her role as Connix but also served as a body double for Fisher, playing a much younger version of Leia in a crucial flashback scene.

The unexpected flashback scene is from the post-Return of the Jedi era where a young Luke Skywalker and his twin sister Leia Organa are training by dueling with lightsabers.

ILM Visual Effects Supervisor Patrick Tubach told Yahoo Entertainment on Tuesday, that while the team made actor Mark Hamill look like a younger Luke via de-aging software in the flashback, they still needed an actress to play the body double for Leia.


Actor Billie Lourd plays Lieutenant Kaydel Connix in the new Star Wars films.


Lourd volunteered to be her late mom's body double for the scene. ILM then recreated Fisher's face from Return of the Jedi film dailies footage.

"Billie was playing her mother," Tubach said. "It was a poignant thing and something that nobody took lightly -- that she was willing to stand in for her mom. It was an emotional thing for everybody to see her in that position. It felt great for us, too. If you're going to have someone play [Fisher's] part, it's great that it's [Billie] because there are a lot of similarities between them that we were able to draw from. The real challenge was just making the Leia footage we had to work with fit in that scene."

Director J.J. Abrams made it clear he wanted to respectfully keep Fisher in the new film and didn't feel the Skywalker Saga could end just by saying Leia had died. "We don't know how to do it without her, and so having her be part of the movie in a way that I think she'd be proud of is very meaningful," Abrams said

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