As of the moment of this writing, the entire nerd community is shaken by the news: our beloved Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher, has succumbed to a sudden heart attack at the age of 60. Even as a casual Star Wars fan, I’m saddened by this tragedy; I rarely get sad by celebrity deaths since my mantra is to believe celebrities are people as well. This time though, the nerd in me is grieving a bit, considering Carrie Fisher was still healthy before.
Fisher was our feisty princess in Star Wars. George Lucas and I share the same sentiments. She was unlike any other female lead character in a lot of sci-fi epics. Princess Leia was strong and wise. She was beautiful but she was also adventurous and bold. She was fire to Luke Skywalker’s ice; Leia was headstrong and didn’t follow the conventions expected of the Princess of Alderaan. Princess Leia proved that a woman can lead the rebel armies and by Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, she was the head of the New Republic army fighting against the First Order. Carrie Fisher’s magnificent acting skills made this role a legendary icon in its own right.
Carrie Fisher’s role as Leia exemplified the strength of women and that they should be empowered to do things that are not “girly” or “feminine”. Her acting pushed indignant to new heights. Carrie Fisher was put on a pedestal not for her beauty, even if she was apparently very beautiful, but she was known to many as a strong woman in many of her roles; she was imperfect, unabashed and assertive.
You don’t think Carrie Fisher or her role as Princess Leia as a thing of sexual fantasies. Fisher, as Leia, was fantasized for her ability in politics and tactics. She leveled the playing field for future strong roles for women. This woman proved that the girls can play the game the boys play and excel in it, and that she is not the damsel in distress. She cared, but she understood where tough love was needed.
As a person, Carrie Fisher should be remembered for her legacy on speaking about mental illness. As a sufferer of bipolar disorder herself, she understood the stigma around the disease and I salute her for her efforts to make mental disorders known. She published books about her bouts with depression and mental health. She had talked and talked about it as a way of clearing her mind and making the masses understand that these are real problems that need to be discussed.
Carrie Fisher may have died but she will always stay in the hearts of the fans she fascinated. She did not become the biggest of stars people claim her to be. She was even afraid of being the Hollywood starlet with a one-off role typecasted onto her. I can’t blame her. She was a tremendously good actress in an iconic role that has inspired generations upon generations of fans all around the world. You may have passed this world, Carrie Fisher, but you are the strong princess of the galaxy far, far away for us fans and that will never go away. May the Force be with you.