Carrie Fisher, 60, – best known by many of us as the forthright, quick thinking Princess Leia of Star Wars – has died after experiencing a cardiac arrest late last week.
Her family and friends are mourning the person she was to them, now. Mom. Friend. Sister. Daughter. Co-star. Writer. Lover. The past few days have, undoubtedly, been a roller coaster of hope and despair, and hopefully with opportunities to hold her hand and let her know how deeply they love her.
For me, that’s not my part in her life – or she in mine. I met her – as most fans do – by sitting in a darkened movie theatre while watching her bring the role of Princess Leia to life. My interest in her was sparked seeing her holographic figure insert a disk into the quirky R2D2 and saying, “You are our only hope.” I wondered if I could have refused to give away the location of the Rebellion’s hidden base.
How would I feel as Princess Leia being forced to view the destruction of Alderaan and everyone I knew and loved?
Those moments in the original Star Wars trilogy provided rare proof of how strong female characters could be. Role models, even while attired in a white robe and ear phone hair style. In the next two movies, the Princess demonstrated her capabilities as a leader and devotion to the Rebel Alliance – even while trying to resist fellow fighter Han Solo’s advances.
Yes she did want to kiss the sort-of-ex mercenary. Couldn’t quite resist that dashing bad guy who could be rather sweet at times. But through all of that she never lost her core purpose of ensuring the rebellion must survive. I cheered her on. Rejoiced when Luke Skywalker turned out to be her twin and she let her hair down – literally – and let Han know he was Man No. 1 in her life.
In Fisher’s real life she battled addictions to cocaine and the ups and downs of life with bipolar disorder. She shared her experiences as an author, including in her Postcards from the Edge best-seller. Seemingly there was little peace for her at times, parallel to her fictitious counterpart.
In 2015 “The Force Awakens,” we saw her character, now in the middle years, still in the role of leader even as she mourned her son’s plunge to the dark side. Leia and Hans Solo found a moment of reconciliation, embracing, leaving many of us wishing this opposites attract couple might find their way back to each other.
So what happens next for Princess Leia? According to the Reuters article, we fans will have the opportunity to see the next step in her journey. Filming for Star Wars Episode VIII. Filming finished in July – the movie opens December 2017.
I cheered her presence in VIII. While the new stars are definitely worthwhile seeing, I appreciated having original actors lend another layer of “reality” to the movie. While nothing appeared easy about the Princess’ in-between years, her presence in the film proved how deeply her gritty “I will survive this” persona is part of the series.
Fisher’s real life death means producers and directors will have to decide how to proceed with her character in the final film.
Will they pay homage to her with a computer generated imagery (CGI) version, I wonder? Or rearrange the current raw footage to show her passing in the second movie.
I hope the film crew finds a solution that satisfies us, her fans, and would have pleased Fisher.
Thank you, Carrie Fisher, for giving us your interpretation of a character that we love and want to emulate, albeit hopefully not against a room of storm troopers. May you find peace and may the Force be with you. Peace to your loved ones.
© 2016 by Mary Louise Van Dyke. All Rights Reserved. For more information, go to firstname.lastname@example.org