Carrie Fisher — wisecracking philosopher, hottie historian, actress who wore the title of “icon” with good humor — is dead. She died in December 2016, at the age of 60.
But in early clips from “Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker,” due this December, Carrie Fisher is alive and well, and smirking. In the final chapter of the current “Star Wars” trilogy, and the (alleged) finale to the nine-film Skywalker saga that started with the 1977, Fisher looks just dandy, despite spending two years rolled round in earth’s diurnal course (as Wordsworth might have it.)
Appearing in a teaser trailer for the December movie, released at Disney’s D23 Expo this weekend, Fisher looks sexily wizened in her signature updated salt-and-pepper hair crown. Her digital return-from-the-dead is courtesy of footage that was shot for 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” This most recent trilogy, which has been longer on effects and shorter on space-racism, had intended to showcase Han Solo, Luke, and Leia, respectively, in each movie.
Instead, Fisher died, strangled by her bra, in a puddle of moonlight. Director JJ Abrams (one of ours) confirmed on Saturday what had already been reported — Fisher won’t rest easy quite yet. “The character of Leia is really in a way the heart of this story,” Abrams told the D23 audience. We could not tell the end of these 9 films without Leia. And we realized that we had footage from episode 7 that we realized we could use in a new way. So Carrie, as Leia, gets to be in the film.”
Well — you snooze (you put a woman last), you lose out on an iconic performance by a legend and have to settle for scraps from the cutting room floor. But Abrams and Disney got the blessing of Billie Lourd, Fisher’s actor daughter, to use clips of Fisher in the movie — it was even announced in May that Fisher and Lourd will have an “emotional” scene together. It’s the Jewish concept of mechaye hametim, writ literal — the words mean “[the one who] revives the dead.”
The medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides claimed this as an attribution of God and said of anyone who denied it, “One is required to hate him and destroy him.” But Jews and Jewish movements have always debated how literally to accept this.
It is also traditional to recite the “Mechaye” revival of the dead blessing upon seeing a dear friend for the first time after a long absence. Perhaps that is what we’re doing with Fisher here: reuniting with a person who has been dear to us, giving thanks for the presence of a person from whose joyous countenance we’ve been separated for too long.
Jenny Singer is the deputy life/features editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny