Despite fears that the character would be written out, recast, or recreated with a creepy and unconvincing CGI avatar, like she was in Rogue One, Carrie is indeed back.
Director JJ Abrams managed the task by cobbling together a compelling storyline for Leia out of unused scenes from prior films The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, which had been left on the cutting room floor. And now she's front and centre in the new teaser trailer.
‘We actually realised there was footage we could use, that we could literally write scenes around and suddenly have as an active part of this movie and she’s great in the film,’ JJ told Entertainment Tonight.
Carrie Fisher is back as Princess Leia
Lucasfilm / Disney
‘And still, maybe now more than ever, it’s impossible to me that she’s gone because she’s so alive in the film. We don’t know how to do it without her and so having her be a part of the movie in a way that I think she’d be proud of is very meaningful.’
Apart from the return of Carrie, the trailer has excited fans with a number of new plot turns. In one scene Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, is seen wielding a double-bladed red lightsaber – a weapon usually only used by evil users of the force. Has she turned to the dark side?
Has Rey turned evil?
Speaking of evil, C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) is also showing a new side to his character, flashing some creepy red eyes.
The love/hate relationship between Rey and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) appears to be coming to a climax, with the pair shown engaging in a dramatic lightsaber battle on a piece of the shattered Death Star, surrounded by a boiling sea.
A new side of C-3PO
There are also hints at the return of two major villains, with Darth Vader’s breathing heard, and Emperor Palpatine heard hissing, ‘Your journey nears its end.’
Also on display, a fleet of old school Imperial Star Destroyers, and what might be the Tantive IV – the first ever ship seen in the original Star Wars film.
The latest opus from Lucasfilm, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, is out December 20 - and we cannot wait.