I, like many other Star Wars fans out there right now, cannot comprehend what has happened. I can’t quite comprehend the fact that I’m writing a ‘remembering’ post for Carrie Fisher. She was so full of life, so ebullient. Carrie Fisher, the actress holding the iconic title of Princess Leia Organa in the Star Wars saga, has tragically died in hospital in Los Angeles aged 60. On December 23rd, on board a flight from London to LA, she experienced a cardiac arrest, and stopped breathing for roughly 10 minutes. Luckily, a fellow passenger managed to perform CPR on her, and she was rushed to hospital where she was sustained in intensive care. Unfortunately, Carrie suffered another cardiac arrest in hospital yesterday, and didn’t make it.
Despite being only 16 years old, I have been a fan of Princess Leia ever since a young boy. Her courage and determination in defeating the evil Galactic Empire, and her endurance of torture at the hands of the ruthless Darth Vader and Jabba the Hutt. She is the very pinnacle of a strong, independent woman shining on the silver screen, even in the dawn of 1977.
Her teenage years were far from average. Her family always described her as the ‘bookworm’. Ironically, a part in a small-time film at the age of 16 meant she was never fully able to graduate from high school. Then, a small film named Star Wars got in the way of her studies at college in 1977. This, was the blossoming of Carrie’s career.
Starring as the tough, competent, no-nonsense Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan at the mere age of 19, alongside co-stars Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie was never highly enthusiastic for entering show-business. However, she felt a grave difficulty in staying out of it, due to her mother, Debbie Reynolds and her father, Eddie Fisher, being top-dogs in the Hollywood scene.
Carrie then went on to star in Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi in 1980 & 1983 respectively, in her role as Leia, playing a pivotal role in the rebellion against the Empire. She was highly regarded for her beautifully executed romance with Han Solo, as well as her tough approach to slaughtering stormtroopers and the infamous Jabba the Hutt. In 2015, Fisher reprised her role in The Force Awakens as General Leia in the fight against the new First Order, a remnant of the old Galactic Empire.
Despite her incredible roles in the hearts of millions upon millions of Star Wars fans, Fisher has had a huge role to play in the advocacy of mental health issues. She most famously quoted “I am mentally ill. I can say that. I am not ashamed of that. I survived that. I am still surviving it, but bring it on. She suffered from bipolar disorder, as well as addiction to prescription drugs & cocaine as well as alcoholism. Her advocacy for mental health caused a huge fan base for her to build up, and she quickly became not only a pop culture icon, but a life issue icon. She changed attitudes, she built bridges, she changed and saved lives. A true heroine.
Carrie was also one of the first main pop culture female heroes. In 1977, she appeared as the tough, courageous female heroine as Leia Organa, proving to the highly male-dominated film industry at that time that females can be huge badasses. She made a huge impression on fans and movie-goers everywhere. A feminist icon, again changing attitudes and perceptions.
Above all else, her personality was what really defined her. She was ALWAYS so incredibly bubbly, positive, humour-filled, and was never nasty or cruel to anyone. That is why she was and is so highly regarded. In her many interviews, she was always laughing, cheering, loose and positive, most particularly when in the company of her adorable French Bulldog Gary.
This has been very difficult for me to write, and I imagine many of you to read. Carrie was one in a million. She may have had her flaws, but Carrie Fisher was an all round legend. She was the pinnacle of a true female role model. She changed and saved lives, she changed perceptions and attitudes, and above all else, she made a fantastic impression on the millions of Star Wars fans on the planet. You will be dearly missed by us all Carrie, you have taken a slice of not only the Star Wars universe, but our world itself with you. May the Force be with you Carrie Fisher, always. Rest in Peace.