Lucasfilm swore we wouldn't be getting a CG Princess Leia in upcoming "Star Wars" films, but we've actually already seen her. Twice.
Obviously, the young all-CG Leia who appeared at the end of "Rogue One" did so with digital magic. And, as it turns out, the floating Leia in "The Last Jedi" was a blend of CG and the real Carrie Fisher, "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" digital animator Stephen Alpin told Inverse.
He explained to Inverse that filming that scene entirely in-camera would have been "cost-prohibitive... You don't just have the range of freedom that you actually get with CG," Alpin says. "If we can shoot it in-camera, let's shoot it in-camera. If there's a certain aspect to it, let's shoot it, and then we can match to it." The CG (based on stunt models) was then matched to the real, live Fisher.
"Last Jedi" VFX supervisor Ben Morris told Inverse: "We will always [digitally] scan all the lead actors in the film. We don't know if we're going to need them. We don't intentionally scan them as an archive process. It's for reference later."
VFX supervisor Ben Morris said it's not just the older actors (whose sudden demise could drastically affect the series, as Fisher's death did in 2016.) Morris tells Inverse, "It's the young actors, the old actors," he says. "All the actors." Even the aliens.
Peter Cushing played a key role in "Rogue One" as Grand Moff Tarkin despite the actor having passed away in 1994. In Cushing's case, a digital version of the deceased actor was blended with live actor Guy Henry. The young CG Leia was melded with actress Ingvild Deila.
Does this mean more CG versions of actors no longer with us? Or no longer young? Unless the technology vastly improves, the result will remain jarring and not quite convincing.