Star Wars producer Lucasfilm released a statement Friday denying rumours that future instalments of the space saga might feature a CGI version of Princess Leia portrayer Carrie Fisher following the actress' December death.
"We don't normally respond to fan or press speculation, but there is a rumor circulating that we would like to address," Lucasfilm wrote on the official Star Wars site. "We want to assure our fans that Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher's performance as Princess or General Leia Organa."
The statement comes following – spoilers – the appearances of CGI versions of both Fisher's A New Hope-era Princess Leia and the return of late actor Peter Cushing's Moff Tarkin in Rogue One.
As Fisher's death likely forced Disney and Lucasfilm to alter their plans for the 2019-bound Star Wars Episode IX – Fisher had already completed work on the upcoming Episode VIII – a BBC Newsnight report (via Star Wars News Net) stated that producers could employ CGI technology to continue the Star Wars saga as initially planned, with the actress replaced with her digital counterpart.
The report also suggested that Disney, which owns Lucasfilm, is already negotiating with Fisher's estate for the continued use of her image in future films.
However, Lucasfilm strongly denied that rumor in Friday's statement.
"Carrie Fisher was, is, and always will be a part of the Lucasfilm family," they continued. "She was our princess, our general, and more importantly, our friend. We are still hurting from her loss. We cherish her memory and legacy as Princess Leia, and will always strive to honor everything she gave to Star Wars."
Last week, it was revealed that Star Wars executives and creators had gathered to discuss the future of the franchise following Fisher's death, and while the CGI option was viable according to visual effects supervisor Michael Fink, "we have seen moments of success but not full performances." Given Friday's statement, producers will charter the saga toward a course that doesn't involve a CGI Leia.