Rian Johnson admitted he considered changing 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' following the death of Carrie Fisher but decided against it due to her "beautiful performance" as General Leia Organa.
The 44-year-old filmmaker wrote and directed the eighth instalment of the sci-fi franchise, which sees the return saga legends Fisher and Mark Hamill as sister and brother General Leia Organa and Luke Skywalker.
Last December, Fisher died at the age of 60 and although she had shot all the scenes for 'The Last Jedi', Johnson admitted he was unsure about whether to change the movie's plot following her passing as she would no longer be able to be part of 'Episode IX'.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Johnson said: "That was the very first conversation I had with Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy after we came back, after New Year's. I kind of looked through the footage. That was the very first question. I felt really strongly that what we have here is so beautiful and the way that the character develops, the way it's paid off, and not only that, the horror of trying to manufacture something that - I don't even know what it would have been, but something for the end of this movie that leaves it in a place where the transition is easier, the idea of, 'Oh God, how would you fake something like that and how would it not be terrible?
"Given that we have a beautiful, complete performance from her that I think audiences deserve to see, and I think it will mean a lot for them, that ray of hope from Leia. For all of those reasons I felt really strongly that we had to let this fly. Luckily we have a fantastic storyteller in J.J. Abrams who is going to figure out a way to bring it home in the end, that's going to be satisfying, I know he's going to.
"With this movie I just wanted audiences to have this performance."
Abrams, 51, directed and co-wrote the first film in the new trilogy, 'The Force Awakens', and has been brought back to create the final part of the new story following Colin Trevorrow's departure from the project.