One of the oldest rumors for The Force Awakens (then only known as Star Wars: Episode VII), was that we would see a pre-A New Hope flashback featuring Princess Leia and Darth Vader that would possibly set up the existence of the Sith Inquisitors. The rumor was that Carrie Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd, who had been confirmed as being in the film, would play a young Princess Leia in the flashbacks as she could pass for her mother.
So… that isn’t the case?
At first, no one really questioned the rumor because we didn’t have enough evidence from the production to prove or disprove it. But since then, as with many early rumors, the flashback rumor has fallen apart over time. First and foremost, it was always a little strange because, as you may have noticed, none of the six Star Wars films before had featured a flashback or any nonlinear storytelling whatsoever. In fact, the biggest departure Star Wars has ever had from its traditional linear narrative was Anakin’s dream sequence near the beginning of Revenge of the Sith. For JJ to suddenly break the trend seven movies in would be strange.
Second, as we’ve learned more about the film the more likely it seems that the Sith Inquisitors will not have a role. At the time of the rumor, they were just announced for Star Wars Rebels and imaginations were running away with certain possibilities. After all, Kylo Ren seems like more than enough of a handful for our heroes over the course of the film.
How do we know for certain Billie Lourd isn’t playing Princess Leia in a flashback?
So, who is Lourd playing?
The simplest answer may be the most disappointing, which is that she will be playing a background character or one with very few lines.
Why do you say that?
As Carrie Fisher tells the story, when George Lucas took her and Mark Hamill out to lunch to tell them he was moving forward with Episode VII, one of Fisher’s first reactions was to ask if there was a part for her daughter in the film. It stands to reason one of the conditions Fisher had for returning as Leia was to put Billie Lourd in The Force Awakens in some capacity. It should be noted that this conjecture does not reflect on Billie Lourd as a person or actress, but the conclusion is simply following the facts at present.
So, for those of you thinking Billie Lourd will be playing a pivotal part, it’s very doubtful that will be the case. More likely, she’ll get a scene and a line or two, perhaps as a settler of Jakku or the member of a Resistance cell.