Farewell, princess

Farewell, princess
PHOTO: The New Paper

There was only ever one princess.

For many of us, it was Leia.

For those of us who grew up in the 70s, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) was the movie that impacted us in a way no other movie ever would.

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That is why 40 years later, we still feel for Leia, Han and Luke.

And that was why there was a great disturbance in the Force yesterday when the world learnt that Carrie Fisher, who played Leia in four Star Wars movies, had died, aged 60.

She suffered a massive cardiac arrest on a plane last Friday.

From her first scene when Leia put the stolen plans of the Death Star into R2-D2, everyone wanted to know who the mysterious woman in white was.

She was the new woman of her era - confident, selfless, a risk-taker.

Here was a female character in the 70s entrusted with the responsibility of leading a rebellion, barking out orders to men, coming up with solutions to tackle problems against insurmountable odds.

There was nothing she couldn't do and Fisher's fans, both men and women, saw themselves in Leia.

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She was a rare character then, and it needed a special person to play her.

Fisher made the role hers and 40 years after A New Hope, it's hard to imagine anyone else being that princess.

Born to actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher, she snared the role when she was 19.

In her latest book, The Princess Diarist, released this year, she wrote how she began filming Star Wars hoping to have an affair.

And she did, with Harrison Ford, who played Han Solo, and who was still married then. She called themselves Carrison.

In it, she wrote: "I liked being Princess Leia. Or Princess Leia's being me. Over time I thought that we'd melded into one...So Princess Leia are us."

Fisher also survived two divorces.

She married singer Paul Simon in 1983, but the marriage lasted barely a year.

Her drug use and mental health issues were blamed for the deterioration of their union.

She was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder and suffered from depression.

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She then married Hollywood agent Bryan Lourd, who came out as bisexual and they got divorced.

They have a daughter, Billie, an actress.

Fisher also made a name for herself as a writer, detailing her battles with drug addictions in her novel, Postcards from the Edge, later made into a movie starring Meryl Streep.

She also contributed to movie scripts like Hook, Sister Act and The Wedding Singer.

And she acted in When Harry Met Sally, Hannah and Her Sisters, and The Blues Brothers.

Lucasfilm, in a tribute yesterday, said it seemed fitting she delivered the final line of 2015's The Force Awakens: "May the Force be with you."

And just as fitting was that she died two weeks after the opening of Rogue One - the standalone Star Wars movie about how rebels stole the plans to the Death Star.

The movie ends with a CGI-ed young Leia escaping from Darth Vader with the plans, which links directly to the opening of A New Hope.

And that's how we'd like to remember Fisher - young, feisty, regal, always there for us.

May the Force be with you, Leia.


This article was first published on December 29, 2016.
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