Disney has been forced to deny that they are planning to use Carrie Fisher's digital image to complete General Leia's Star Wars storyline.

BBC's Newsnight reported that Disney could be discussing doing the same thing with Fisher, who returned to the franchise in 2015's, The Force Awakens.

Kirsty Wark reported: "With what might be regarded as unseemly haste, Disney is negotiating with the actor's estate over her continued appearance in the franchise. If Disney gets the go-ahead, Carrie Fisher will join Peter Cushing, who, last month, 15 years after his death, played a key role in Rogue One as Grand Moff Tarkin."

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While the untimely death of Fisher at the end of December brought shock and grief to her fans, it posed other problems for film executives with an extensive Star Wars franchise lined up.

Reports at the time suggested that Leia was meant to have a large role in the ninth movie in the franchise, having finished filming on several vital scenes for this year's eighth instalment.

The last movie in the franchise, Rogue One featured Peter Cushing, despite the fact the actor had died in 1994. Disney used a combination of digital effects to change the appearance of actor Guy Henry to appear as Cushing's character, so that it seemed as if Cushing was acting from beyond the grave.

While Newsnight reported that this is looking like a possibility for Fisher and Leia, Disney released a statement reading: "Disney is not in conversations with the estate of Carrie Fisher at this time and any reports to the contrary are false."

There was no more detail on what exactly Disney would be negotiating with the estate: the studio may want to continue using Fisher's likeness on merchandise, or, as with Cushing, want to bring Leia back for Star Wars: Episode IX, which is due for release in 2018.

Carrie Fisher as she appeared in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Photo/Supplied
Carrie Fisher as she appeared in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Photo/Supplied

As Newsnight pointed out, however, such technological advances come with their own ethical questions: just because late actors can be brought back to popular franchises, it doesn't mean that they should.

Some living actors have taken steps to ensuring that once they die, they shouldn't return to the big screen. Robin Williams, who died in 2014, banned the commercial use of his image until 2039. As for what technology will be capable of then remains to be seen.

Fisher died on December 26 following a heart attack and a short stint in hospital.

A version of this article first appeared on The Daily Telegraph