Sad Topic: Recasting Princess Leia
On today's Collider Movie Talk, Ellis, Campea, Harloff, and Jahns all talked about the possibility that Lucasfilm might recast Princess Leia instead of killing the character off, given that there was already a storyline set in place for Episode IX that heavily involves Princess (or General) Leia Organa. While at first, I was on the "don't recast, don't use CGI" team, I'm now on the "recast" team, but only if certain requirements are met. Firstly, I get that I have zippo control over this, and secondly, this is just my opinion, so please don't crucify me, Internet trolls. You've got a right to yours just as I've got a right to mine.
I heard Jahns and Harloff mention that they'd actually rather see Princess Leia recast as opposed to just saying that General Organa died somewhere in between Episodes VIII and IX. As someone that hasn't wanted to see the character appear as a a CGI creation, I was hesitant about the thought of recasting, but then I realized that if done correctly, it could work. You can't just go out and hire any actress to play this part, because it's so much more than that: it's Star Wars, for crying out loud. Regardless of what you might think, the Star Wars fans are the most loyal in the movie community. We stuck around through the prequels, or, if you're like me, that was your introduction into the franchise. Regardless of your age, if you're a Star Wars "sweaty", you see Carrie Fisher and your first thought is the princess.
I was suddenly brought back to a quote from Carrie Fisher that Meryl Streep recited at the 2017 Golden Globe Awards: "Take your broken heart. Make it into art." How wise a statement! While that can be interpreted in many ways, it suddenly got me to thinking, wondering, would Carrie Fisher really want Leia's story to be cut short just because her own was? Probably not. She knew what Star Wars means to the fans, and I think that she knew that well enough, especially after this last book tour and the press tour during Episode VII, that she's always going to be our princess. It doesn't matter who puts on the shoes next, regardless of if they fill them out or if they struggle to keep them on, Carrie Fisher is always going to be Princess Leia.
If they do recast the role, though, they need to cast someone who is such a good actress that she makes you forget her real name. A woman of such amazing talent that will be able to recognize that while she shouldn't do a Carrie Fisher impression, she should do a Princess Leia one. Someone that will able to ground the character in realism, not make her out to be campy. While Star Wars is a little campy, Princess Leia has never acted campy. One name came to mind: Meryl Streep.
Ms. Streep has kind of played Carrie Fisher already, in Postcards From The Edge, which was written by Carrie Fisher, and based on her own book that was based off of her life. Obviously, Fisher trusted her to play her once, why not again? Meryl Streep is so amazing at getting lost in a character without going over the edge (*cough*Jared Leto*cough*), and she loved/loves and respects Ms. Fisher and her memory. She was even on George Lucas' list of potentials for the role of Princess Leia when the casting for Star Wars began over forty years ago. Meryl Streep is mature enough in her craft, and most importantly, a lady enough to know that this role wouldn't be about her and her star power. She would know that this would be about continuing a story that Ms. Fisher had devoted so much of her life to, and she knew her well enough to know how Ms. Fisher would have wanted it done.
While I know that many don't even want to think about this, from a business standpoint, it's a must. You must also recognize the fact that someway or another, Disney/Lucasfilm is likely going to (eventually) cast a new Princess Leia for a Star Wars anthology film. You cannot use Rogue One as an argument for further CGI use, because if they were to make a movie that focused heavily on Princess Leia at an earlier point during the Star Wars timeline, they would recast the role to a younger actress, just as they've done with the upcoming Han Solo picture. We've easily accepted that we have a new Han Solo, and while this is going to be taking place much earlier in the nerf herder's life, it's still going to be a little odd for the first five minutes, seeing someone other than Harrison Ford turn around to someone yelling "Han Solo!" Don't you think that if done correctly, the role of Princess Leia in the Star Wars Episodes could be handled in the same way?
That's why I think that Meryl Streep is the only person fit to take the role now that Carrie Fisher is gone. Meryl Streep would be perfectly fine with not going on the press tour, would be perfectly fine with not getting top billing. She's a classy lady that puts art before recognition, and most importantly, she understands what it means to respect, or else she wouldn't have so gracefully been able to take on the roles of playing real people such as Julia Child or Margaret Thatcher. It takes real talent on the part of the actor to make the audience forget who you are in real life, especially when you're playing a real-life person, but that's how amazing Meryl Streep is. If she can do that, how could she not make an amazing General Organa?
Leave your thoughts below. I can't wait to hear what the rest of you think! If you had to recast Princess Leia, who would you choose?
May the Glitter Geek be with you!