What they do in Hollywood when a star died during filming really depends.
Sometimes the film is abandoned, as in the case of Dark Blood when River Phoenix died.
But if the star has already completed many crucial scenes, directors can use doubles and other tricks to complete the project anyway.
A recent example that you may remember is the 1994 Brandon Lee movie The Crow.
Lee was killed accidentally during filming by a .44-caliber gun filled with blanks. Part of one of the blanks was shot from the gun, lodging in Lee’s stomach with fatal results.
There were only three more days of filming scheduled. The producer was able to digitally alter some of the remaining scenes but for others used body doubles.
The doubles were asked to wear a mask resembling Lee’s face but refused, claiming it was too creepy. So instead, the producer filmed them from a distance.
Another example: During the filming of Saratoga, Jean Harlow died of kidney failure, leaving co-star Clark Gable and the rest of the cast and crew in a lurch.
They used Harlow’s stand-in to finish the film, carefully lighting her from the back and using long shots.
The stand-in was positioned looking through binoculars or peering out from under large, wide-brimmed hats. Ironically, this film was considered one of Harlow’s best.
And then there’s the notorious Plan 9 from Outer Space, in which director Ed Wood used a much taller extra to stand in for newly dead Bela Legosi.