We still don’t know how the Star Wars movies will respond to the death of Carrie Fisher, as her General Leia was reportedly supposed to play a big role in The Last Jedi and whatever Episode IX will be called, but a new Entertainment Weekly piece dedicated to Laura Dern’s Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo might give us some indication. Any character trying to come in and replace Leia would have impossibly big shoes to fill, so rather than try to introduce a new character who is immediately likable and awesome, Lucasfilm seems to have chosen to steer into the skid and introduce a new Resistance leader who is explicitly divisive.
The EW story doesn’t specifically say that Dern’s character is “replacing” Leia, but it says that she has become the Resistance’s new leader in the aftermath of The Force Awakens—which involved the villains using a big space laser to blow up the capital of the space government. It sounds like she’ll immediately butt heads with Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron, who is loyal to Leia and is wary of his new boss’ “different approach” and her purple hair. Speaking of, it sounds like Holdo’s look was very meticulously controlled, with Dern telling EW that “everyone was painstaking about not only the look, but even the exact color of hair.”
The basic idea is that Holdo looks very stylish and is willing to look at the bigger picture and “sacrifice for the good of the whole,” whereas Leia—at least in the original movies—was more about grabbing a blaster and getting shit done herself. At the risk of spoiling the movie, this probably means that there will be a moment where Holdo gives some order that Poe doesn’t agree with, but he’ll do it anyway and find out she was right, at which point he’ll develop a grudging respect for her.