Late actress Carrie Fisher will appear in the forthcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII, it has been confirmed.

Fans had feared the 60-year-old's character Princess Leia would not star in the franchise's next installment, set for release in December 2017, after her death on 27 December. Fisher lost her life at UCLA Medical Center four days after suffering a heart attack during a flight from London to Los Angeles.

As some consolation for devastated fans of the Star Wars franchise, a spokesperson for LucasFilms told TMZ that Fisher had "absolutely wrapped" scenes for the next film but said it was too premature to suggest how future installments would be affected by Fisher's passing.

According to the official Star Wars Twitter account, director Rian Johnson stated that filming for the eighth movie "officially wrapped" in July 2016.

Fisher reprised her character as Leia, now known as General Leia Organa, in 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, alongside Harrison Ford, John Boyega, Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley.

It was Fisher's first appearance in a Star Wars movie since 1983's Episode VII: Return Of The Jedi.

The cast of Force Awakens have paid tribute to Fisher with Harrison Ford describing the actress as "one-of-a-kind, brilliant original and funny". The Han Solo actor added: "She lived her life, bravely... My thoughts are with her daughter, Billie [Lourd], her mother, Debbie [Reynolds], her brother, Todd [Fisher], and her many friends. We will all miss her."

Carrie Fisher
Carrie Fisher died on 27 December at the age of 60 after suffering a heart attack REUTERS/Paul Hackett

Star Wars creator George Lucas said in his own statement: "Carrie and I have been friends most of our adult lives. She was extremely smart; a talented actress, writer and comedienne with a very colorful personality that everyone loved. In Star Wars she was our great and powerful princess – feisty, wise and full of hope in a role that was more difficult than most people might think. My heart and prayers are with Billie, Debbie and all Carrie's family, friends and fans."

British actor John Boyega, who plays Finn, tweeted: "My heart is heavy but I'm grateful that I got to know her. I'll cherish the memories, conversations and her consistent support. Rest well," while Mark Hamill posted a photo of himself with Fisher as their Star Wars characters with the caption: "No words #devastated."

Carrie Fisher
Carrie Fisher will make her final appearance as Princess Leia in Star Wars: Episode VIII, set for release in December 2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM