What’s an appropriate amount of time to wait after someone’s dead before creating a soulless digital puppet that wears their skin, and using computers to glue it onto another person’s body?
There’s been rumblings throughout Hollywood that Lucasfilm’s Peter Cushing might have been a little inappropriate, but that doing the same thing for Carrie Fisher would be hugely offensive.
So what’s the difference? Is it that the loss of Carrie is such a fresh tragedy?
It can’t be that—after all, nobody opposed the digital recreation of Paul Walker in Furious 7. If anything people applauded the tasteful sendoff that the franchise was able to give him.
We all had a good cry in the theater, and now we’re ready to see Dom drive some more cars, really fast, while making out with Charlize Theron or some such thing. You know, the typical FF nonsense.
(Don’t get upset if I’ve misremembered the trailer for Fate of the Furious, I don’t actually care enough to go back and check.)
But pulling a Tarkin, as digital recreations have come to be known (by me), seems a little less respectful for Carrie Fisher, in large part because a) her final scene won’t involve her driving off into the sunset as a metaphor for death while a sad song plays, and b) because Lucasfilm wants to recreate her for a movie that hasn’t even started filming yet.
This wouldn’t be a matter of patching up an incomplete film—Carrie had wrapped on Episode VIII before her death. Instead, Lucasfilm needs a way to jam a fake Carrie into the gaps in Episode IX.
Studio heads are, according to The Hollywood Reporter, meeting right now in order to figure out what to do.
Supposedly, there are two key scenes that the scripts for VIII and IX call for with General Organa—one where she meets back up with her brother (which, based on Oscar Isaac’s social media posts, seems to have been already filmed), and one where she goes Full Parent on Kylo Ren’s whiny little butt.
The meeting that Lucasfilm is having now has an inevitable conclusion. Kathleen Kennedy and her underlings will all pretend that they’re making a hard decision, before calling up ILM and getting them to start work on the Leia puppet.
What matters here is not whether Lucasfilm will reanimate Carrie Fisher or not, but how forlorn and mournful they'll manage to appear while doing so.
There is, of course, one other thing to be discussed in this meeting. Don’t think for a moment that they’re going to bring up this subject without getting to the meat and potatoes of the implications for future movie planning.
Lucasfilm is currently discussing a new set of contracts for all of their actors, giving them permission to recreate them digitally for any reason the studio sees fit—including the inevitable point when it becomes cheaper to use computers than to do reshoots, or as a bargaining chip for pay disputes.
They’re also trying to figure out the most efficient way of getting all their key actors (all of them) to agree to humiliating nude full body scans, so that they can keep a digital archive of every character’s birthmarks, bone structure, genital size, and dental records.
The death of Carrie Fisher might just mark the point where Lucasfilm begins to progress to the point where George Lucas’ true dream is finally realized: a movie where emotion and good writing can be added digitally in post-production.