I usually don’t do this. Yet, another day another death from someone we may only know through our television or movie screens has occurred. This time for me at least, this hurts. Usually we talk comic book TV shows and movies, but I am changing up…a bit. The first comic book that I learned to read was the second giant size issue of A New Hope or as it was called Star Wars. It turned out that it was the mistakenly priced version that was worth a $100 which I ripped to shreds due to the amount of times I read it and carried it from one place to another. I know… reading a comic book instead of storing. Insane.
While the second part of Star Wars is really about how much a bad ass Luke, Obi-wan and Han are. The first real hero of Star Wars is Leia. C-3PO and R2 are just running around while Leia has to face off against Darth Vader. Darth Vader, who is unquestionably, the greatest villain of all time, at least to me. Vader already choked out and broke some random guard’s neck by just asking some questions. What was he going to do to Leia? Leia in her first real scene takes out a Stormtrooper. A feat that her guards couldn’t even do. So, what does Vader do when Leia insults him.He takes in stride. Vader treats her like an equal. At that point, we love her. We love her defiance, we love her smirk and we love her fearlessness. She is the hero of this story.
Carrie Fisher was a hero. She had many battle with drugs, mental illness and being a child of two beloved Hollywood stars who were not always there for her. She survived. She survived by using her wit. While Leia is a three dimensional character, she is very rarely funny. Carrie was fucking hilarious and honest. Maybe a bit too honest. Like the Harrison Ford affair or telling Daisy Ridley not to sleep her way through the cast and crew. The truth can be funny. I like she got with Harrison, because it means the chemistry I saw on screen was real. It doesn’t surprise me either.
In the brilliant documentary about Star Wars called Empire of Dreams, Carrie discusses that George cast them to type. So, of course Han and Leia were going together in real life. It also makes sense that George saw that glimmer of sarcasm and hope in Carrie that was needed for Leia. Even if not for Leia, Carrie was amazing in everything else. In Blues Brothers, she is the murder spree jilted bride that makes John Belushi beg for his life. Belushi. In his prime. Beg. There is also When Harry meet Sally. I hated that stupid wagon wheel table as well. Every time I see a wagon wheel table, I think of how brilliant that scene is thanks to her. I mean lets go through the comedy list of movie in which she made those movies better: The Burds, Austin Powers, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Soapdish. They’re good movies, but she made them better even if it was for a one scene.
If you want to know what the real Carrie was like, I have a vague idea. The Empire of Dreams documentary is probably the best version of her sitting down explaining how she went from Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher’s kid to 1970s icon thanks to this little space movie. She was very blunt about how she thought they were going to replace her. How the studio sent her to fat camp to lose weight to fit into the costumes. She is very upfront while still being charming about the whole ordeal. In the Return of the Jedi commentary, she freely admits Han and Leia are better off fighting than they are at being a couple. I believe Carrie to be a very fun person to be around that how to deal with some real shit in life which his more than happy to talk to you about.
I had an opportunity this year to meet her at NYCC. She was coming for the weekend, but I choose to do Friday instead due to all the craziness of Saturday convention brings let alone New York on the weekend. While I was lucky to meet Stan Lee, Alex Kingston and a few others, I do regret not meeting her. I figured I would meet her along the convention road leading to Episode VIII, but that will not happen. However, I did. We all did thanks to the miracle of television and film. I get to see her again while I watch Force Awakens with my daughter who loves Leia as well as Rey and BB-8. My daughter gets a hero that is not only a woman, but a great person. I could talk a bit about Rogue One, but I want to keep this spoiler free. Having said that, you will enjoy the last scene. I did.
While I never meet her, she showed me qualities in people I love. Being a smart ass. Taking charge while everyone else seems clueless. Arguing with loved ones over inane things. Being there when your friends need you the most. And most of all how to rebel. I really like rebelling against dark and terrible things especially with a smirk on my face. God, I can’t thank her or those movies enough for that. I will miss her, but it won’t be the last I see her. May she rest in the Force.