Following the tragic news of Carrie Fisher’s death, (god damn you 2016) I was compelled to write about her most iconic role, Princess Leia, and why she was so important to the world.
I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.
I fear something terrible has happened.
Princess Leia was an outstanding role model for young girls, myself included, and reminds me of my other hero Ellen Ripley. She didn’t have superpowers, she wasn’t even a Jedi like the other heroes in the Star Wars Saga, she was just a girl. It is in these most normal of women that we see true strength, and I thank Carrie Fisher for bringing this iconic character to life, in such an outstanding way, at just 19 years old.
Princess Leia is a diplomat, a leader, a spy, and a fighter, and she is amazing.
A New Hope
When we’re first introduced to Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan (to give her proper name), she was member of the Imperial Senate and an agent of the Rebel Alliance. She has been captured by Darth Vader, while acting as a spy, and hiding plans for the Death Star within the droid R2-D2, who she sends in search of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Despite being captured by the Sith Lord, Leia refuses to give up any information, even when her home planet is threatened with destruction, she reveals only details of an old abandoned Rebel base. She even manages to throw some shade at Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin! Although she is ultimately ‘rescued’ by Luke, Han and Chewbacca, she is not idle in their escape, she is ready for action, and shows great courage. She is assertive, and takes command of her own situation and rescue.
The Empire Strikes Back
Now obviously a leader in the Rebel Alliance. We see a much softer side of Leia, especially as she falls in love with Han, but she doesn’t lose any of her strength in doing so. She’s still got attitude, and she’s still got her wits about her.
Return of the Jedi
Showing outstanding heroism, she disguises herself as a bounty hunter, and taking Chewbacca as her supposed prisoner, sneaks into Jabba’s Palace and frees Han. Unfortunately for her they are recaptured, but hey, she’s only human remember! Now decked out in her iconic gold bikini, we can forgive the skimpy outfit, as it’s still accompanied by her sharp wit and that touch of snarkiness we have learnt to love and expect from Leia. Not letting this get her down, Leia jumps on opportunity and strangles Jabba with her chain, and escapes the monster’s clutches. On Endor, she again leads in battle, and despite being injured, her resolve never fails. Through thick and thin, Leia is true to her cause, and loyal to a fault. This is a woman I would want on my side, and would happily follow into battle.
The Force Awakens
Finally, in the most recent instalment, we see her as General Organa, leader of the rebellion. Leia is at her core a fighter, and when all else around her is crumbling, she still stands strong. She is visibly hardened by battle, and the years have not been kind. She has lost so much, her family destroyed with Alderaan, her brother MIA, Han somewhere across the galaxy and her son lost to the Dark Side. She is still committed to her cause, but she is also under an enormous amount of pressure, and you can see that she means business. Reunited with Han, we see a brief glimpse of tenderness, before the only thing she has left is ripped away from her.
Despite Carrie’s death on the 27th December, she had already completed filming for Episode VIII, due to be released in December 2017. I hope the film portrays a befitting end for this iconic character. I can’t imagine anyone ever replacing her.
Leia showed us that it you don’t need special powers to be strong, you can fall in love and still be a leader, and you can have smart mouth and still be loved.
May the Force be with you Carrie