It is with very heavy and sad hearts that The Young Folks came together in honor of Carrie Fisher, the actress and author, who passed away on Tuesday morning. It feels a little surreal to be in a world where a princess, an author of many brilliant titles, and a daughter of the legends Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, no longer is here. Whether we enjoyed her novels, performances, her perfect embodiment of the iconic Star Wars princess and general, and/or her mental health activism, Carrie Fisher was a true Force to be reckoned with.
Carrie Fisher embodied one of the most iconic science fiction roles of all time. She filled it with ferocity, warmth, humor, and heart. In fact, Princess Leia is such an integral character in pop culture that it can be hard to separate Fisher from the role she played so brilliantly. Fortunately, she was a lightning rod of charisma off-screen as well, with a sharp and deprecating sense of humor. We are very lucky that Episode 8 wrapped months ago, as seeing General Leia one more time is now more important than ever. She will be deeply missed. May the force be with you, Carrie.
Carrie Fisher started it all. Your talents are what truly made Princess Leia who she was. Your wit, your dedication, it was all you, and it will forever have a place in the centuries to come of filmmaking. It only seems fitting that your legacy would pass the torch on to other talented actresses, like Daisy Ridley and Felicity Jones, to keep the power of the heroine alive and well in the Star Wars universe. But still, upon learning that your role in Episode VIII was completed before your passing, it’ll be like staring at a ghost on the movie screen for many of us. I foresee nothing less than a wave of tears being shed as your countless fans bare witness to your talents one last time, and in the film universe where it all started for you Ms. Fisher, I can’t imagine a more fitting farewell. Be sure to tell Saint Peter he’s a stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder for taking you so soon.
Carrie, you were everything. You were a mother, a daughter, a sister, a writer, a comedian, a singer, an actress, and a friend and inspiration to millions. You were an unapologetic survivor and a fearless advocate. And sometimes…you were a princess. The galaxy seems a bit less bright without you. Good night and sleep well.
Regarding her role as Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher once said, “I got to be the only girl in an all boy fantasy, and it’s a great role for women. She’s a very proactive character and gets the job done. So if you’re going to get typecast as something, that might as well be it for me.” In a world supposedly made for boys, Carrie Fisher gave us one of the strongest female characters out there, carving out a place for herself and the actresses who came after her and letting little girls everywhere know they were included too. She was a badass feminist, a mental health/drug addiction advocate, and a hilariously honest writer. It’s not fair that she was ripped from our world this soon. Give ‘em hell, General.
Carrie Fisher will always be known as Princess Leia, striking various images of her donning eccentric hair styles to her in provocative dress. While we can always respect her for her many accomplishments revolving around the Star Wars franchise, we have to always keep in mind one thing: the fact that she didn’t mind making fun of herself. Be it playing numerous guest characters on shows that featured her as lonely and controlling– like Family Guy– or even easy going and loveable– like on 30 Rock– she knew how to make fun of herself and she played into the fact that she is the most beloved [fictional] princess of all. Carrie, thanks for bringing not only Princess Leia to life, but bringing what I argue even more entertainment to life with your references and general fun attitude.
Little more can be said about the amount of grace and strength she portrayed as the iconic Princess Leia, and I will always have soft spots for her performances as a cantankerous mother in Catastrophe and as the best friend role in When Harry Met Sally. However, beyond her roles and her bringing to life a female hero that young girls would be idolizing for decades after, she struck a certain significance in showcasing that beyond the hero there was a real person playing her, one dealing with flaws and mental illness. It was her frankness and her bold nature that made her just as much as a hero as her fictional counterpart.
I saw Carrie Fisher a couple of years ago at Salt Lake Comic Con. She took the stage, dog Gary in tow, and sat on a large couch to talk to the audience. However, Fisher then realized that she did not have a Coke with her. Turning to the crowd, she asked if anyone had a Coke. One noble man came running down from the back of the room to provide her a can of the stuff. He was then granted by a firm kiss on the mouth for his efforts. That was the sort of person Carrie Fisher was – bold, brash, passionate. I saw Star Wars too young to fall in “love” with Fisher as Princess Leia – I’m a late bloomer of sorts – so instead I got something else out of her performance. I received the idea that women could be varied. They could be graceful and headstrong, snarky and loving, stoic and emotional. No matter who they chose to be, however, they were to be respected. Admittedly, most of my memories of her are tied to her performance of Leia; though I do fondly remember her guest stint on Smallville. That said, what I do know of her only corroborated the person she portrayed on the screen. Carrie Fisher’s visage of an older Leia is on a poster than that hangs above my workstation that now looms with both a message of hope and a challenge to go forward. Even though I rotate my art regularly, this one is staying. Following the events of the that convention, me and my friends kept a can of Coke on us; just in case. I don’t think I want to stop that. After all: “She may be a general to you; but to me, she’s royalty.”
To me, Carrie Fisher’s legacy goes far beyond Princess Leia or even acting at all. On Facebook earlier tonight, I called her one of the best humor writers of the past 40 years (up there with the likes of John Swartzwelder and the duo of David Letterman and Merrill Markoe), and I stand by that here. Her novels Postcards from the Edge and Delusions of Grandma and non-fiction humor book Wishful Drinking are incredibly witty, self-assured, candid takes on mental illness, depression and life as an actress and global icon. They come strongly recommended for anyone who found her to be an entertaining late night guest or loved how she carried herself in public. They’re brilliant, funny books and, like the best humor books before them, they’ll stick with you for a long time afterwards.