In a new interview with Vanity Fair in honour of the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, the head of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy revealed that the late Carrie Fisher – who portrayed the iconic character Princess Leia - was to be in the centre of episode nine. Speaking about Carrie's time filming Episode VIII, which is due to be released this December, Kathleen said: "She was having a blast. The minute she finished, she grabbed me and said, 'I'd better be at the forefront of IX!' Because Harrison was front and centre on VII, and Mark is front and centre on VIII. She thought IX would be her movie. And it would have been."
READ: Carrie Fisher's sister Joely talks star's death for the first time: 'I miss her around'
Carrie was intended to have a huge role in episode IX
Vanity Fair released stunning photos along with the interview which showed Carrie as General Organa. In one photo she is embracing her daughter, Billie Lourd, who also appears in the series as a member of the rebellion. The stars of The Force Awakens, Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, opened up about Carrie for the feature. "There were times through it all when I felt like I was… shrinking," Daisy said. "And [Carrie] told me never to shrink away from it – that it should be enjoyed." John recalled her reaction to the backlash after he appeared in the trailer for the first time. "She said, 'Ah, boohoo, who… cares? You just do you.' Words like that give you strength. I bore witness in a million ways to her sharing her wisdom with Daisy too."
READ: Billie Lourd honours mum Carrie Fisher in a Princess Leia-inspired dress at Star Wars Celebration
Carrie played General Organa in The Force Awakens
Carrie passed away on 27 December, just a few days after suffering a cardiac arrest while on a flight from London to L.A. The director of Rogue One, Gareth Edwards, revealed that he hadn't watched the film since Carrie's death. He told the Telegraph: "I've not really sat and watched the film since the opening weekend, when Carrie was still with us. I just feel the whole thing was, to be honest, one big love letter to Carrie. What we're doing with the entire movie is all building to that one moment where we hand the baton to her, to go off and make that film that inspired us all as kids. So it couldn't have ended better from that point of view."