It is with heavy hearts that we all learned this morning of the passing of Carrie Fisher. While deservedly famous for her career as an actress, a writer, and mental health advocate, she is dear to this community’s heart, and I am sure that we are all experiencing some similar form of grief, disbelief and shock.
If you’re a member of the Fanedit.org community, there is no need to recount the history. Star Wars is literally a foundation upon which this community grew from, and while the site has expanded far beyond this specific set of films, Star Wars remains a common glue that binds us together. Star Wars is simply not Star Wars without Carrie’s portrayal of Princess Leia, a key component of a triumvirate of characters which elevate Star Wars to something so much more than a ‘space opera’. Remove one piece of that puzzle and it falls apart, and now her piece is gone, leaving a gaping hole that leaves us all hurting deep inside.
George Lucas created a character that was a revelation in terms of women’s equality, but it was Carrie who breathed life into the feisty princess in a way no other actress could have. I’d say that it is hard to separate the qualities that made us love Leia from the qualities that made Carrie, Carrie. The Princess was brave, bold, confident, vulnerable, witty and strong because that is what Carrie was. When I was 5 years old, every boy wanted to marry Princess Leia not because she was beautiful (though she was certainly that) but because she was simply.. kick-ass awesome. Likewise every girl I knew wanted to be her. She not only redefined what girls could aspire to be, but also what boys, who would grow into men, would expect to see and value in women.
Carrie’s life was complex. One of her greatest, bravest gifts was to not just not hide from her demons, but to share them and put them in our faces. She refused to be defined by anything conventional, not by her looks when she was young (or old), not by the role of Princess Leia, not by her celebrity parents, or her mental health. She refused to fit in a box and spent her life exemplifying bravery, vulnerability, and above all, truth to one’s self… a lesson we can all benefit from.
We all have our own personal stories and connections to her, and each is as important and valuable as the next, but I take comfort in knowing that while the pain, sadness, and emptiness that I feel this morning is shared a thousand times over, it is overshadowed by the joyful memories we also all have in common thanks to her.
We have lost someone truly amazing, who helped bring to life something so much bigger than the individual parts that went into making it. She will always be our Princess.
May the Force be with you Carrie. You are one in a million.