It's a bit of a shame that she had to be saddled with the 'Princess' moniker, though the word doesn't necessarily connote helplessness. She was the feisty action Princess who could even snark out on her rescuers:
And bravely confront the captors who ordered her torture:
For the record, my favorite 'Star Wars' anecdote involves that scene- contrary to the line of dialogue that she delivered, Carrie noted that Peter Cushing smelt of
For the first two movies, Princess Leia was portrayed as a no-nonsense, competent leader, and while a romantic interest for both of the male leads (until the truth about the cute girl who kept kissing Luke was revealed), she was never overtly sexualized. Then, in the third movie, the producers ill-served the character by ditching the tame Ralph McQuarrie conceptual images for a sweaty, libidinal Frank Frazetta look (for the record, I am an unapologetic Frazetta fan, and an unapologetic ass man, though I recognize the cheeze factor in his art). While the adolescent me, like most of my peers, greeted the Dejah Thorisfied Princess Leia with a 'Christmas came early' attitude, the mature me thinks that it was an unfortunate misstep in the franchise, and, even though the sexualized Leia killed her misogynistic captor with the chain used to confine and humiliate her, the whole 'sexy slave girl' Leia detracted from the saga... also, why the hell would a giant slug-thing-with-cat's-eyes-and-Donald-Trump's-comically-small-mitts put a member of a totally different phylum in a sexually revealing outfit?
Looking back, I have to say that Carrie was overshadowed by the character she played- how does a nineteen year-old star of a mega-blockbuster escape from the shadow of a character who is so iconic that even her hairstyle is recognizable around the world?
I was vaguely aware in my younger days of Carrie's struggles with addiction and mental illness and looking back, I admire her candor in confronting and addressing her problems. She was as tough as the iconic character she portrayed, and as funny. She didn't shy away from her problems, writing about them with humor and humanity. When an idol can talk frankly about these issues, attitudes change- if the beloved Carrie Fisher can talk about her bipolar disorder, so can her fans.
As much as I crushed on Princess Leia as a kid, I came to crush on Carrie Fisher as an adult... she was a talented writer, with much of her work done behind the scenes, and a fearless advocate for people who are often marginalized. Her initial scene in last year's 'Star Wars' sequel was a welcome return, and provided one of the funniest lines in the film:
Here she is discussing the need for candor and the use of humor as a coping mechanism:
This video features Carrie in full-on raconteuse mode with an interesting round-table:
Leave it to a talented scriptwriter to give the funny line to a co-star.
At any rate, it's tough to lose Carrie Fisher, she loomed large in the culture of my peers and people younger than ourselves, and she modeled a candor, toughness, and grace that we all should aspire to. Here's a video of John Williams conducting an orchestral rendition of the lovely theme he wrote for Princess Leia:
I know that there have been a myriad of memorials to Carrie Fisher's memory, but I think the best commemoration of her memory would be making December 27th Bipolar Pride Day.
Damn, as if this year weren't bad enough, Debbie Reynolds lived just long enough to survive the death of her daughter... sometimes, it seems as if there really is a Dark Side.