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Billie Lourd stood in for mom Carrie Fisher as Leia in Rise of Skywalker scene

on January 08, 2020, 9:16am
 

For many audience members, watching Carrie Fisher up on screen in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker three years after her death was an emotional experience. Yet it was nothing compared to what Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, must have gone through while filming the movie. Not only did she have to act opposite her mother’s General Leia, she actually had to stand in for her during one particular scene.

Minor spoiler warning.

Much of Leia’s screen time in Rise of Skywalker is achieved via unused footage left over from The Force Awakens. However, one flashback appearing about halfway through the movie required a younger version of the character being taught the ways of the Jedi by her brother, Luke Skywalker. While a digitally de-aged Mark Hamill was able to play Luke, director J.J. Abrams didn’t want a completely CGIed Leia. Instead, as ILM Visual Effects Supervisor Patrick Tubach told Yahoo! Entertainment, Lourd acted as a body double for her late mother and Fisher’s face was digitally mapped on in post.

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

(Read: Five Reasons Carrie Fisher Ruled Our Galaxy)

Though the scene lasts only a matter of seconds, Tubach didn’t downplay its importance:

“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.”

(Rise of Skywalker co-writer Chris Terrio recently told The Hollywood Reporter images from Return of the Jedi were used to add Fisher’s face to the scene.)

Before TRoS hit theaters, Lourd penned an op-ed for TIME about what it meant to continue on with her role as Lieutenant Connix after her mom’s death. “I knew it would be one of the most painful, difficult things I would ever do, but I said yes for her — for my mom,” she wrote. “For Leia. For everyone Leia means so much to. For everyone Leia gives strength to.”