Leia Organa will always and forever be associated with the late, great Carrie Fisher, but other actresses have tackled the role for various Star Wars animated series. Voice actress Rachel Butera landed the role for Disney Channel’s Star Wars Resistance, and she first voiced the princess-turned-general in that show’s series premiere. Given the timeline of Star Wars Resistance, the odds were always good that Leia would be back. That apparently didn’t mean Butera would be back. Star Wars Resistance evidently recast the role.
The recasting wasn’t announced ahead of Star Wars Resistance‘s winter finale, and it seems the switcheroo was done quietly. In the closing credits of the winter finale, General Leia Organa was listed as being voiced by Carolyn Hennesy, not Rachel Butera. Hennesy also voiced Leia for episodes of LEGO Star Wars: All-Stars. In hindsight, it is possible to tell that the voices are slightly different, but fans might never have realized there had been a recasting if not for the closing credits.
Although no official explanation has been given for why Leia had to be recast, it’s possible that Rachel Butara’s controversial post on social media (that has since been deleted) back in September led to her dismissal from the Star Wars project. We may never know for sure unless Lucasfilm or Disney makes an announcement, but the fact remains that Butera is no longer the woman behind Leia on the small screen.
That honor belongs to Carolyn Hennesy, for now, at least. Neither Hennesy nor Rachel Butera were the first actress to voice an animated Leia. Different actresses voiced younger versions of the character for Star Wars Forces of Destiny and Star Wars Rebels. It should be interesting to see how much Carolyn Hennsey will contribute as Leia Organa.
As a general in the Resistance, Leia has had bigger concerns than Kaz’s mission so far. Given that Resistance‘s first season takes place only months ahead of the sequel trilogy (as opposed to Rebels, which began years before the original trilogy timeline), we may want to expect Leia to turn up more often, especially if Kaz takes a larger role in the Resistance when they need all hands on deck. Star Wars fans everywhere know that dark days are coming thanks to Starkiller Base, and Resistance showrunner Justin Ridge explained why the show is set so close to The Force Awakens.
I know my fingers are crossed for Leia on a more regular basis on Resistance. This is the first of the Star Wars animated shows that is likely to run into the timeline of the films. Clone Wars took place between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, and Rebels (aside from the epilogue filled with bombshells that shocked even the voice cast) was set ahead of Rogue One and A New Hope. It should be fun to see how Resistance continues to set itself apart.
Resistance should also help whet Star Wars fans’ appetites as we wait for the next movie to hit theaters, the revival of Clone Wars, and those live-action shows to debut on Disney+. It will return with new episodes in the new year. For more of what you can watch in 2019, swing by our midseason TV premiere guide.