HUFFINGTON POST – There’s a brief, but powerful moment in The Last Jedi where Leia, the storied Princess turned General, stands alone in a cold expanse. Behind her, in the dark, her defenses are at their weakest. Ahead, trouble quickly approaches. Despite these dire straits, Leia keeps her eyes fixed on the horizon, ready to meet what comes. Though this sequence only lasts mere seconds, the quiet intensity of the scene serving as a perfect cinematic portrait not only of the iconic character, but also of the incomparable woman who portrayed her.
I’ve been thinking about Carrie Fisher a lot lately. Naturally, the release of the new Star Wars film has contributed to this fact, but also the knowledge that this December 27th marks a full year since her passing.
Like many kids of my generation, Star Wars was always sort of pop culturally omnipresent in my life. As is the nature of such zeitgeist behemoths, it was almost impossible to not be held in its thrall: I remember clutching my Ewok stuffed animal tight while watch the original movies on VHS and recall getting swept up in the fever pitch leading up to the release of the prequels. Even if tangentially, there’s something magical about bearing witness to a piece of storytelling that has touched so many lives. And, as someone who has since devoted his own life to storytelling, it’s a phenomenon I cannot help but admire.
That being said, in comparison to the far more dedicated members of the fandom, I would definitely consider myself a casual participant in the world of Star Wars. For no better reason than often the interference of life, my attention to the franchise has occasionally waned here and there over the years, though I have never forgotten my appreciation for its innate magic. However, the one thing that has never waned is my appreciation for the galaxy’s grand dame: Carrie Fisher.
Like many, my first introduction to Carrie Fisher was as Princess Leia. I always liked this rebel rouser who, even while the men were attempting to mount a rescue mission, would invariably rescue herself. As a little boy who grew up with the male-driven media of my generation, Leia broke the mold of merely being a damsel in distress. She took charge, she fought back, she stood defiant. In a galaxy that didn’t necessarily believe in her or her form of rebellion, she believed in herself.
…and though I didn’t realize it at the time, as a little queer kid growing up in small town America, she was exactly what I, and so many others, needed to see.
Granted, Leia’s agency notwithstanding, it was actually Fisher’s life beyond the galaxy far, far away that left the most profound impact on me. I’ve been an avid reader most of my life, and when I was in high school, I picked up a copy of Fisher’s Postcards from the Edge at a bookstore by happenstance. I had heard of the movie, but honestly may not have even thought to get the book had it not been on sale. Luckily, being a broke student led to me discovering something that, in a way, changed my life.
Within the pages of Postcards was a tale, not of space, but of the intricacies of humanity. Of the tragic flaws that exist within all of us, the cracks in our relationships, and the struggles to overcome the darkness we create for ourselves. It was a raw, honest work.
…and it was also funny as hell.
US WEEKLY – Sometimes, there’s no clear divide between good and evil. As Daisy Ridley’s Rey comes into her powers in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, she begins to question where her allegiance lies.
“From the start, Star Wars has always had the good guy confronting the extent to which the bad guy is a reflection of themselves,” writer-director Rian Johnson tells Us. “With Luke, he thinks Darth Vader is an evil guy who he has to kill. Then he realizes this person is apart of him.”
And Rey is dealing with an added struggle: She can’t find herself until she finds her family. Though she thought she had a glimmer of hope in Han Solo (Harrison Ford), “that was violently taken away,” says Johnson. “She’s still searching for her place in all this. She thinks figuring out who her parents are will help define her in this story.”
ET ONLINE – Carrie Fisher continues to be remembered by fans, friends, and family.
The late actress’ brother, Todd Fisher, helped honor her memory at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles on Thursday, just hours before Star Wars: The Last Jedi was released in theaters.
Fisher received a plaque at the historic Hollywood institution that read “Dedicated to Carrie by the TCL Chinese Theatre, her Star Wars home since 1977. ‘We love you Carrie.'”
‘Dedicated to Carrie by the TCL Chinese Theatre, her Star Wars home since 1977 “We love you Carrie.”’#CarrieFisher #PrincessLeila #TCLChineseTheatres #ToddFisher #StarWars #TheLastJedi pic.twitter.com/xTQy9GwgLf
— TCL Chinese Theatres (@ChineseTheatres) December 14, 2017
EW – Things got hot and heavy between Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher while the two were shooting the first Star Wars movie, which was released in 1977.
During an interview with The Guardian, the 66-year-old revealed that although he “knew from previous jobs” that getting romantically involved with a coworker was a bad idea, “Carrie and I were instantly attracted to each other.”
“I remember one time – I’m sure alcohol was involved – we were talking about kissing techniques. I said: ‘Well, I think I’m a fairly good kisser. I like to let the women come to me rather than be aggressive.’ And she said: ‘What do you mean?’ Well, next thing you know we’re making out like teenagers!” he said.
“We were all over each other!” he added, before seemingly revealing that there was a limit to how far their relationship went.
“The one thing that drew Carrie and me back from the precipice was we kind of became aware of what we were doing and just burst out laughing. Which was unfortunate for me because the rocket launch sequence had been initiated,” he continued.
NY TIMES – “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.”
Even as a jittery, tiny projection, Princess Leia is a commanding presence. She’s one of the most powerful figures in her galaxy — and one of the most iconic characters in our galaxy. This is how she went from secret baby to General Organa. (Many Bothans died to bring us this information.)
- Padmé Amidala, the former queen and senator and the wife of Anakin Skywalker, dies in childbirth, but not before naming her twins Luke and Leia. (How could she die during childbirth in a galaxy that has mastered hyperspace travel? Who knows.) Padmé and Anakin’s daughter is adopted by Senator Bail Organa of Alderaan and his wife, Queen Breha. Luke is sent to the desert planet Tatooine.
- Sixteen years later, like many teenagers, Leia becomes curious about her parents. As detailed in the novel “Leia: Princess of Alderaan,” she inadvertently discovers that her father, her mother and their friend Mon Mothma are deeply involved in the budding rebellion against the Galactic Empire.
- Leia joins the group that will become the Rebel Alliance.
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE Carrie Fisher, child of Hollywood, grew up fast. This was a mixed blessing for her, but a good thing for “Star Wars.”
Fisher was 19 when she first played Rebel Alliance leader Leia Organa in “A New Hope” — a role she would reprise for the final time in “The Last Jedi,” filmed before her death at age 60 in December 2016 and opening Friday (Dec. 15).
She did not seem teenage on screen. Her smoky voice and show-business-bred poise lent her authority. She was crisp where so many 1970s actresses were languorous. (Leia’s infrastructure-heavy hairdos helped).
In Leia’s verbal interplay with Han Solo (Harrison Ford), one could see glints of 1930s movie serials in which “Wars” was rooted and also Rosalind Russell’s and Katharine Hepburn’s 1940s workplace comedy characters. Leia never was as funny as those characters, but she could be as brisk and self-possessed.
Old Hollywood was never too far from Fisher, daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher. Reynolds had caught the tail end of cinema’s golden age, and never got over it. As we saw in “Bright Lights” — the HBO documentary that aired just after Fisher died (of sleep apnea, with traces of heroin, cocaine and Ecstasy in her system) and Reynolds died a day later, from a stroke — Reynolds was an avid student of show business. And Fisher was a dedicated student of her mother.
POST GAZETTE — Carrie Fisher may have been the “madcap Auntie Mame” to Mark Hamill’s “square” homebody, but despite their differences, the Star Wars siblings got along famously right until the end.
While both skyrocketed to celebrity with their Star Wars roles in 1977 and remained inextricably linked through their on-screen family, Mr. Hamill says he missed a lot of Fisher’s life — during “the Bryan Lourd years” and when her daughter Billie Lourd was an infant. That’s why, even before her untimely death last year, he felt especially grateful to just get to spend time with his friend during the filming of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”
“I’d see her periodically during charity events or when there were Star Wars celebrations and so forth. But this was the first time where we could really hang and enjoy each other. Even if I wasn’t shooting I was coming in for stunt training and this or that, hair tests, coming into her trailer and hanging out with her and [her dog] Gary,” Mr. Hamill said. “There was a comfort level we’d developed over all these years. She knew me. She knew I hadn’t really changed. She knew I wasn’t out to get something.”
Fisher was apparently beloved by all in the cast, both for who she was and what the character of Leia meant to them. Her death at age 60 came after filming had finished and deep into post-production, but it presented a bit of a conundrum for the filmmakers who had anticipated Leia being part of the next film, too.
ABC NEWS – It’s been almost a year since the “Star Wars” community lost Carrie Fisher at 60 years old.
But with Fisher reprising her role as Leia one last time in the upcoming “The Last Jedi,” cast, crew and fans will get a final chance to enjoy Fisher’s legendary portrayal of the no nonsense, kick butt princess turned general.
No one is more excited to see Fisher back on screen than her “space twin,” Mark Hamill, who once again plays Leia’s brother and Jedi master Luke Skywalker in the highly-anticipated blockbuster.
Hamill, 66, spoke about his fond memories of his dear friend on a recent visit to the set of “Popcorn With Peter Travers.” He also recalled the last prank she pulled on him before she died on Dec. 27, 2016.
“We were sort of in an unofficial contest to get to 1 million Twitter followers first,” he explained of their competition from summer 2016. “She was 63,000 ahead of me … I said, ‘Game on girl!'”
As of now, Hamill has more than 2 million followers and Fisher posthumously has 1.19 million. Hamill, who was trailing in the beginning, said he started pulling these ridiculous stunts like offering up exclusive “Star Wars” clips to gain followers and catch up to Fisher.
The adorable pup’s cameo was confirmed by the film’s director Rian Johnson
INDEPENDENT UK – At the closing ceremonies for 2016’s Star Wars Celebration, the world’s largest convention for the franchise, both Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill had a very exact complaint to be made: why are there no dogs in the Star Wars universe?
“I’m just here to make sure Gary gets a part at least in the next [movie],” Fisher said at the time. And it looks as if General Leia got her request: Gary Fisher, her French Bulldog companion that was rarely separated from her side, has a cameo in The Last Jedi.
VULTURE – Today’s Los Angeles press conference for Star Wars: The Last Jedi had a tough act to follow: Two years ago, during the press conference for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, co-star Carrie Fisher had the entire room cracking up with her inimitable wit. Describing the film’s older take on her character Leia as having a “baboon-ass hairstyle” and “kind of a classy gas-station attendant look,” Fisher was on top form that day, issuing dry, delicious answers to journalists’ questions. What did director J.J. Abrams bring to the Star Wars franchise? “Sobriety,” she said. Could she talk about the “girl power” she had in The Force Awakens? Fisher thought about it, “No.”
The Last Jedi’s press conference had no chance of being as funny as that one. Instead, it was much more emotional, since the film features Fisher’s last performance as Leia, shot before the actress died in December of last year. To hear her female castmates tell it, both Leia and Fisher had a profound impact on them.
Co-star Gwendoline Christie, who plays Captain Phasma in the new Star Wars films, recalled first laying eyes on Princess Leia when she was a young girl. “She was very significant when I was 6 and I remember thinking, ‘Wow, that character is really different,’” said Christie of the galaxy’s feistiest princess. “I watched TV and film obsessively from such a young age, and it stayed with me for my formative years. She’s really interesting; she’s smart, funny, she’s courageous and bold. She doesn’t care what people think and she isn’t prepared to be told what to do.”