Carrie Fisher’s brother reveals new details about Leia’s ‘Rise of Skywalker’ role: ‘She was going to be the last Jedi’:-
Hard to take what he says without a little grain of salt, as we know the script went through multiple revisions between the different screenwriters and directors. That being said, obviously what we’ll end up with will be a much less prominent role for Carrie than they ever would have wanted to do.
In my mind, the interesting nugget here is that he says they had 8 minutes of footage of her, and analyzed every frame and then “reverse-engineered” them. If we are to take those statements at face value, it’s interesting to consider. On one hand, 8 minutes doesn’t sound like a whole lot in what’ll be a 155 minute movie. On the other hand, if it really is 8 minutes, that’s rather extraordinary considering the circumstances.
For reference, I did a quick search for screen time breakdown by character in the Star Wars movies, and was delighted to find a comprehensive list on the subject here: https://www.imdb.com/list/ls027631145/
So, if Leia’s role is 8 minutes long in the film, it’ll be a significant step down from the previous two OT character send offs (Han with 20:30 in TFA, and Luke with 21:15 in TLJ), which is to be expected. But, if it is 8 minutes, it’ll be on par with her role in the other two ST films (6:15 in TFA, 8:45 in TLJ). Which leaves me somewhat optimistic. If the footage is indeed integrated seamlessly and tastefully, this will have been a much better solution than writing her out of the film entirely, which would have felt jarring and clunky. We’ll never get that perfect sendoff picture that Carrie and Leia deserved (really, across all her appearances she deserved more), but if she’s got 8 minutes, and we have a film that treats her like Poochie (so to speak), we could still end up with a film that belongs to Carrie/Leia in spirit, if not actuality (I mean she does have top billing).