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.”
PEOPLE – Princess Leia’s legacy lives on — in Star Wars: The Last Jedi and in the happy memories Carrie Fisher left with her intergalactic family.
Carrie Fisher had completed filming her role as Leia for the new Star Wars movie, out Dec. 15, months before her sudden death last December at age 60.
In PEOPLE’s new special issue Star Wars: The Ultimate Guide to The Last Jedi (on newsstands today) and an exclusive PeopleTV special, the film’s cast and crew open up about Fisher’s final performance and the warmth and wit she brought to set.
“I’m selfishly mad that she’s not here to make me laugh. But I’m also grateful for all that she was able to give us while she was here. It has not been easy,” says Mark Hamill, her onscreen brother and offscreen friend since the original 1977 Star Wars.
While on set, Fisher acted as a mentor for the younger members of the Star Wars cast, forming close bonds with John Boyega and Daisy Ridley.
Boyega says he would go to Fisher whenever he wanted a secret cheat day from the strict diet and workout regime he had to stick to while filming.
MOVIEWEB – Master of social media, Mark Hamill took a break from trolling Star Wars fans over the Thanksgiving holiday and instead shared some humorous messages along with a heartfelt tribute to the late Carrie Fisher, his on-screen sister. The Luke Skywalker actor shared some Star Wars Thanksgiving-themed memes featuring Porgs taking over the holiday as well as Darth Vader cutting a turkey with his Lightsaber and a cornucopia featuring BB-8, among others. Those tweets were all well and good and gave fans some laughs while celebrating, but it was his tribute to Carrie Fisher that really got everybody’s attention.
It’s hard to believe that The Last Jedi is less than a month away, but it’s even harder to fathom that it’s been nearly a year since we lost Carrie Fisher. It’s tough for fans, but immensely harder on those who knew and loved her, like Mark Hamill. Hamill took to Twitter to post a picture of himself and Fisher, in character as Luke and Leia, on the set of The Last Jedi with a simple caption that reads, “thankful 4 the memories,” in hashtag. The picture is a reminder that Carrie Fisher’s memory will live on in the hearts of her friends and family as well as all of the Star Wars fans all over the world.
In a recent interview promoting Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Mark Hamill addressed how he copes with the loss of Carrie Fisher and mentioned that she is still very much on his mind these days. Hamill had this to say.
“The only way I’ve been able to cope is to think of her in the present tense. She’s so vital in my mind even today.”
Hamill also went on to talk about how their relationship wasn’t always perfect. The actor even revealed that he thought that Fisher would completely bounce back after suffering cardia arrest last December. He explains.
THE MARY SUE – The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson recently gave a fairly wide-ranging interview to Yahoo! News, covering everything from how Disney selects its spoilers to potential backlash against the Porgs, but it was his quote about Carrie Fisher that really tugged at my heartstrings. Johnson discussed how Fisher was deeply conscious of Leia’s importance to women in the Star Wars fandom, and how she tried to serve the character’s legacy through both her performance and the script.
“She was so conscious of the place that Leia had,” Johnson said, “not just broadly in the culture, but very specifically in terms of girls who grew up watching Star Wars, when Leia was the only female hero on the screen. She really wanted to do right by that, drawing the character forward. That was something that she would always be pulling us back to.”
Fisher’s dedication to doing right by the character and her fans also extended to the script, which she worked with Johnson on. Johnson has previously praised Fisher’s contributions to the story, calling her “a brilliant writer, with an incredible mind,” but here he specifically spoke to her work on Leia.
“For me it was fantastic, because besides all the other benefits of having a fantastic writer like Carrie there by my side while we’re making this movie, just having a voice that was like a compass needle that would always pull it back in the right direction of This is what this character means, and this is what we always have to make sure that she’s serving, with her strength and also with her weaknesses — showing a fully realized character who is going to be inspiring to the folks who grew up with Leia.”
Knowing that this will be Fisher’s last performance as Leia, it was heartening to hear that she had so much involvement in shaping the character’s arc and attitude – and that she did so with a mind to what she meant to Star Wars fangirls everywhere. When there are still fanboys out there who insist that Star Wars is a “guy thing,” it’s important that the people who are actually, you know, making Star Wars films recognize the female fans – both those who’ve been there since the beginning, and those who are only just discovering Star Wars.
As ever with this movie, I am not ready for my emotions.
EW – It was a chance to remember 40 years of Star Wars, but it turned into a time to mourn a future without Carrie Fisher.
Thursday’s 40th anniversary celebration of the beloved film franchise at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando, Florida, closed with a video tribute to Fisher, who died last year. The package, which can be seen above, included a look at Fisher’s life as Leia Organa and featured a brief glimpse of the actress on the set of this year’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi with director Rian Johnson (see it below).
Before the video montage screened, Fisher’s life was remembered by original Star Wars director George Lucas, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, and Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd.