I don’t remember ever not having Star Wars in my life. I don't ever remember not knowing who Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and all their wacky pals were. Now, I don't claim to be the biggest fan, but I will say when I had mono in fifth grade, I spent that month watching my VHS tapes of the orginal Star Wars trilogy nearly every day. I would search for the background characters that I had read about in my Star Wars Dictionary and pause whenever they were on screen. Why? Because kids are weird, that's why.
My brother and I were too far apart in age to play together much, but I did benefit from getting all his hand-me-down toys, which consisted of all the big toys of the 80s, like Hot Wheels cars, GI Joe action figures, and a shit-ton of original Star Wars action figures. I wasn't as into the Hot Wheels as I was into the other two. And lucky for BabyGay Ian, the GI Joe and Star Wars figures were nearly the exact same scale. And, more importantly, with the Star Wars hand-me-downs came my favorite Princess Leia action figure, in her A New Hope white dress (although, for articulation purposes, she’s kinda just wearing white bell bottoms) with a weird plastic robe/cape. The figure looked nothing like Carrie Fisher and had shitty articulation — and I fucking loved it. My Star Wars figures would sometimes crossover with my GI Joes and, duh, Leia would be the leader whenever Cobra joined forces with The Empire. She was a princess, after all.
I tried really hard not to cry in public today when I got the three different texts saying Carrie Fisher had passed away. She portrayed the first Strong Female Character I'd taken notice of as a kid and that meant a lot to this BabyGay Geek. Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 AM on Tuesday, December 27, at the age of 60.
Carrie Fisher's performance as Princess Leia was an incredibly iconic one. She showed that a princess didn't need to wait around for a god damned prince. Her Leia was capable and sassy and had no time for your shit.
Post-Star Wars, Fisher went on to write. She wrote an autobiographical novel, Postcards from the Edge, about her relationship with her mother and her struggle with addiction, and she eventually even wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation starring Meryl Streep. She also helped edit some big name Hollywood scripts (including Star Episode I: The Phantom Menace), and even wrote jokes for the Academy Awards ceremony.
She also kept acting after Star Wars, starring in The Blues Brothers, Hannah and Her Sisters, The 'Burbs, and When Harry Met Sally... She even made hysterical, memorable cameos in Scream 3 (where she played a woman who looked a lot like Carrie Fisher), Fanboys (a movie literally about teens wanting to see Star Wars), and 30 Rock (in which, she paraphrased the iconic line, "Help me Liz Lemon, you're my only hope"). She raised visibility for mental illness. She openly spoke about sexism in Hollywood. She even made fun of her boss, George Lucas himself
She once even wrote her own hilarious obituary. The story goes that, on her first day of filming, George Lucas told her she couldn't wear a bra with her costume. He said they didn't wear underwear in space — and that a bra had the potential (I swear to Buffy this is a real quote) to strangle you in space as your body expanded. Fisher knew this was bullshit and found it hysterical, stating:
Now I think that this would make for a fantastic obit — so I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.
Let's not forget her Twitter presence — truly a gift from the internet gods. She tweeted more emojis than Cher, told Donald Trump to fuck off more often than most people on Twitter do, and constantly tweeted pictures of her handsome French bulldog, Gary. All that along with her participation in the press tour for Star Wars: The Force Awakens (to which she constantly brought Gary), gave her somewhat of a renaissance. She even fired back at one Good Morning America reporter, after being asked for the 87895th time about losing weight for the role, with: "I did lose weight — and I think it's a stupid conversation," and then asked the reporter, "Do you exercise every day? And is it boring?" And, when asked by Time if it was hard to come back to the role of Leia, replied with: "I'm a female and in Hollywood it's difficult to get work after 30 — maybe it's getting to be 40 now. I long ago accepted that I am Princess Leia."
And, most recently, she ran an advice column for The Guardian. And in the final column written by Fisher, she was asked life advice by another person living with bipolar disorder. Fisher said she found it very important to find a community of other bipolar people to share experiences with. She ended the column with this:
You reached out to me — that took courage. Now build on that. Move through those feelings and meet me on the other side. As your bipolar sister, I'll be watching. Now get out there and show me and you what you can do.
It's oddly on the nose as a final piece of writing for Fisher, but it's none the less emotional and meaningful. As Princess Leia, she fought the Empire even though her family had been murdered, saved the men who had come to rescue her, and was proud rebel scum. As General Leia, she led the rebellion even after her family was completely torn apart. As Carrie Fisher, she helped forward the conversation on mental illness, gave sexism the middle finger, and had no problem telling someone to fuck off.
You will be missed, Carrie Fisher. Thanks for teaching us not to take shit from anyone.