“So, you have a twin sister. Your feelings have now betrayed her, too. Obi-Wan was wise to hide her from me. Now his failure is complete. If you will not turn to the Dark Side then perhaps SHE will…” – Darth Vader, ROTJ (1983)
If (as I previously theorised after watching The Force Awakens) General Organa is the real villain of the new Star Wars trilogy – and whose identity as the Morgan le Fay-like enchantress and evil puppet-master of the Galaxy was set to be revealed either in Episode VIII or IX – the tragic and untimely death of actress Carrie Fisher could have seismic implications for the trajectory of the new saga’s entire storyline – and for Disney’s bottom line. It may have also created an exciting new possibility for the development of her character which could transform the significance of the recently-released Star Wars standalone film, Rogue One.
Since Princess Leia (as well as Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin) appears in Rogue as a CGI character, what if that “CGI-ness” (for want of a better term) were somehow incorporated into her character to become an integral part of who she is? This would allow for the development of a Palpatine/Sidious-like duality to her role and would permit Lucasfilm to avoid having to cut Organa scenes (as has been reported) or undertake expensive re-shoots for either Episodes VIII or IX.
It would also mean that the decision to feature Leia and Tarkin as CGI characters in Rogue wasn’t necessitated by mere technical considerations but that their CGI incarnations in that film were integral to who they both are in the Expanded Universe and key to the roles they may yet play in their respective galactic futures.
By retaining Princess Leia/General Organa in the storyline and making these two incarnations of her character into a Palpatine/Sidious-like ‘alter ego’ in which the Princess/General is continually interchanging between her fleshly and CGI personae, the entire Star Wars universe could be potentially transformed and create new possibilities for the development of other iconic characters through the rest of the saga.
In this way, not only does Disney (and its Lucasfilm unit) save (and make) money but they introduce new elements into the narrative that help it endure for future generations.