As we’re all aware, we lost Carrie Fisher in December, just after the release of “Rogue One,” which had a “young” Carrie Fisher appearance in the movie, thanks to the help of computer graphics and effects.
But now the use of CGI in films is proving that it can basically completely replace actors in movies, or bring them back after their actual death (as proven in “Furious 7” with Paul Walker). Actors leave behind their estate when they die, which money that would normally have gone to the actor now goes to an account to be used by family members (or otherwise). After an actor’s death, estates have rules set in place for how that actor’s “likeness” can be used. Merchandise sales, book covers, etc.
But now, with the advance of how CGI characters are so lifelike, you don’t even have to be IN the movie to be in the movie any more, and that has celebrities calling lawyers everywhere, preparing their estates. If you never specified that your likeness can’t be brought back to life in the form of a CGI character, it’s free game, within reason. Some actors have rules in place, or negotiations can even be made to accommodate roles. Example, Robin Williams. He has a rule in his will about his Genie character from Aladdin; his voice can not be used for any versions of Genie after his death a couple years ago. Paul Newman died in 2008, but his voice will be used again for Doc Hudson in the new “Cars” movie because his estate approved it, and they have original unused audio recordings from the first “Cars” movie.
Disney have said that they will not be bringing Carrie Fisher back for the next Star Wars movie, but the whole situation still has celebrities trying to figure out what they’re worth after they’re gone.