December 28, 2016

Farewell, Carrie Fisher

Most of my Facebook friends are Star Wars fans, and yesterday everyone was commenting on the tragic news that Carrie Fisher has passed away after suffering a heart attack on a transatlantic flight from London to Los Angeles. As Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan, she was one of the pop culture icons of the past century, and it's difficult to process the fact that she's gone so soon after appearing as General Leia in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, while another Star Wars movie, Rogue One, is playing in theaters worldwide. So sad. It's a shame that Episodes VII, VIII and IX weren't filmed 10 or even 5 years ago.  

Since my parents have always viewed pop culture with contempt, and my family didn't own a VCR when I was a child, I first saw Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and its two sequels in 1997, when the CGI-improved Special Edition hit the screens. I was 16, with a strong taste for science fiction and fantasy literature, and I had already read the novelization of A New Hope by Alan Dean Foster (checked it out from the school library) WITHOUT KNOWING ABOUT THE MOVIES - that's how clueless I was! I enjoyed all three visits to the cinema immensely (much to the disgust of my father, who watched A New Hope with me and called it "just a silly movie for kids"). It might be un-feminist to say this, but I admired the young Carrie Fisher for her looks (oh, those dark eyes! And the braided hairdo worn with a short jacket and trousers!) as much as for her spunky acting. And I'm glad we could see her again in A Force Awakens as a middle-aged General Leia with white streaks in her hair and a tired voice.  

It's actually a bit unfair to remember Fisher - actress, author, script doctor, humorist, and an advocate for mental illness - primarily for the role of Leia, but for millions of Star Wars fans worldwide that's who she'll always be: Princess Leia and General Leia. An icon. I have yet to read Postcards from the Edge and Fisher's other books, and to learn more about this outspoken, witty woman who survived drug addiction and lived a productive life with bipolar disorder, only to pass away much too early.

Farewell, Carrie Fisher.

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