Speaking recently with Rolling Stone, J.J. Abrams explained which unused Carrie Fisher scenes from The Force Awakens were retrofitted to fit in with The Rise of Skywalker, and what those scenes were about.
“We originally had a character that we got to know who was on the Republic planet when it was destroyed, but it felt a bit beside the point, and in the re-editing, we ended up losing this whole chunk of Leia scenes that we had prior.”
“It’s an odd thing, if you say someone was killed five blocks away, you have a reaction to that tragic news. If you say a thousand people were killed by a bomb, you almost can’t process the idea of a thousand people, 10,000 people, a million people, 5 billion people. It’s really hard to have an emotional reaction. So, you’re right, it would have been great if there was more time spent mourning these people, but the more people you talk about, weirdly, the harder it is for people to absorb and feel something.”
The character J.J. is likely referring to is Korr Sella, as played by Maisie Richardson-Sellers, a Resistance Commander who died on Hosnian Prime after Starkiller Base struck from the northern Unknown Reaches. To see these scenes reworked, allowing Leia to be a part of The Rise of Skywalker, will be fascinating.