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Billie Lourd Was Carrie Fisher’s Double for Leia’s Jedi Training and Honestly, I Don’t Know Why They Replaced Her Face

carrie fisher and billie lourd on the star wars set.

When the footage of Leia Organa as a Jedi rolled into Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, I was so happy because finally, all the arguments about whether or not Leia was Force-sensitive were over. Then, she took off her helmet, and I wished with every fiber of my being that they had just used Billie Lourd to play younger Leia (as she was literally right there).

Turns out, she did! And then they threw CGI over her face because that looks better than Carrie Fisher’s own daughter who looks very much like her mother, right? (Wrong.)

In an interview with Yahoo!, ILM supervisor Patrick Tubach confirmed that Mark Hamill played young Luke Skywalker in the flashback (using de-aging technology) and that Billie Lourd stepped in to bring Leia’s story to life.

“Billie was playing her mother. It was a poignant thing, and something that nobody took lightly — that she was willing to stand in for her mom.”

Now here’s my issue: They took off the helmets, and I was instantly taken out of the scene because the de-aging was not great. I’ve said this time and time again, but the only time I think that the use of de-aging technology works is in Captain America: Civil War because Tony Stark is using B.A.R.F. to visit a moment from his life when he was 17 and it isn’t supposed to look perfect. It’s meant to be a digital recreation in-universe.

Every other instance looks like a robot trying to act. Sorry to The Irishman. So, if they already had Billie Lourd playing the role in part, and they have someone like Sebastian Stan who already looks like Mark Hamill out in the world, why not just use them as brief cameos and give us a more authentic looking scene? Especially one that has this much magnitude for fans?

The first moment I cried during Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was when Lourd’s Lt. Connix spoke to Leia. Billie Lourd was facing Carrie Fisher and having a scene, and watching that play out before me hit more than anything else with Leia (which surprised me, as someone who loves Carrie Fisher with my whole being).

Star Wars had already used Billie Lourd as an ode to her mother, giving her the iconic Leia buns (or at least a reference to them) and having her in scenes with Carrie in both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. They could have had her play younger Leia and we wouldn’t have thought twice about it, but the very computer animated aspect of Carrie Fisher’s face in that Jedi training scene? It truly took me out of the moment.

Sure, Mark Hamill looked like Mark Hamill, but for some reason, they cannot master Carrie’s face—something they also attempted in Rogue One (which I think is hilarious, because Billie Lourd’s is not that different, and she was their starting point). I just wish, at this point, that they would have a) stopped using Carrie as their emotional driving force or b) concluded her story in a way that didn’t come off as almost cheap, since she looks like a computer simulation instead.

I will say that the knowledge that Billie Lourd wanted to honor her mother’s story is probably the most emotional thing about all of this. Lourd lost a lot. Her mother and grandmother died within days of each other, and now, she lives with their legacies and is building her own. So, for her to bring a beautiful aspect of Leia’s story to life? Incredible. I just wish they had used Billie Lourd’s face instead of trying to make her a computer.

(image: Annie Leibovitz/Vanity Fair)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.