As is now common knowledge, Carrie Fisher appears in The Rise of Skywalker courtesy of her family’s blessing and 7 minutes of unused footage shot for The Force Awakens – also directed by J.J. Abrams – that he was able to use for the final saga episode. Abrams remembered the unused footage and was able to recondition it for the final chapter.
“Saying Leia had passed away, or that she was off somewhere else, felt like a cheat. Then I remembered we had these scenes that we hadn’t used from Episode VII. It was like finding this impossible answer to this impossible question. Suddenly we had classic Carrie in these amazing moments. So when you see in the movie, it’s her, she’s there. It’s not like there’s some crazy digital trickery. She’s just in the movie.”