Earlier this year, I threw on Star Wars,: Episode IV—A New Hope. One reason why was because, while my son had seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens, he hadn't seen the original trilogy. It'd been a while since I'd watched A New Hope myself, and it was dope to see that after all of the thinkpieces on Daisy Ridley's Rey and her role in the new trilogy, as well as Felicity Jones' Jyn Erso battling front and center in Rogue One, the very first Star Wars film kicked off with a strong female character getting shit done. It's hard to say if that was life imitating art, but the more we've seen of Carrie Fisher over the last four decades, it felt like it was only right that she was the original intergalactic female icon in this series.
With her passing away at 60 years old earlier today, it's hard to not look back at that initial film and what Carrie meant to the series as a whole. In casting Princess Leia, George Lucas said he was looking for someone who "could hold her own against strong actors, and still be the princess that she needed to be, the authority figure she needed to be." In Fisher, he definitely found the right one. In the audition clip up above, we get to see Fisher up against Harrison Ford, who'd already worked with Lucas in the Oscar-nominated American Graffiti. Immediately you see it: that's Leia. Carrie's giving Harrison the plans, and feels right at home with him as Han Solo, who for all intents and purposes, is a prick. Instead of getting flustered, we get to see a 19-year-old Fisher work her magic in a calm tone, with a voice that was equal parts feminine and formidable.
While Carrie felt like she was Lucas' Minnie Mouse in terms of how her likeness was exploited and sold following A New Hope's release, it's not like Fisher shied away from the Star Wars realm. I remember first hearing about The Force Awakens, and smiling when I saw that Fisher and Ford would be reprising their iconic roles. In a conversation with People last December, Fisher said she was "the beginning of girl power," and she wasn't wrong. In hindsight, it's almost like Carrie stuck around to pass that baton to Daisy Ridley, who said that, "Princess Leia and Carrie are a source of inspiration for girls for the past 30 years." While she noted that she's "definitely not quite there yet," her hope was that "Rey will be something of a girl power figure."
Losing Carrie Fisher is losing an amazing example of speaking your mind and being your own boss while walking this earth. She may not have made as much money as she should have for being the face of Leia, but Fisher's legacy lives on in the minds and hearts of Star Wars fanboys—and girls—the world over. More importantly, with a wink, a suggested tone, and fierce determination, she portrayed a shining example of what it truly means to be a badass. Losing Carrie Fisher sucks, but we need to look back at her life and her most iconic role as the reason why we need to combat anyone trying to hold anyone back, particularly women.
How about this: When confronted with some kind of nonsense that's in your way, ask yourself, "What would Leia (and Carrie Fisher) do?"