I became a Star Wars fan a bit later in life. A Star Wars-obsessed college boyfriend introduced me to the series officially when I was 19, and I immensely enjoyed some of the kitschy aspect of it for a few years as part of our relationship. It was fun to be nerdy and cute together. But with the release of The Force Awakens in December 2015, the true Star Wars fan in me was awoken as Parker and I re-watched the original Star Wars trilogy at the beginning of 2016 and found ourselves researching Star Wars lore and generally getting much more interested in the series than we ever had before.
So after hearing that Carrie Fisher had passed away on Tuesday morning, I found myself reflecting on her role in the Star Wars universe, and what it meant for me and many other women and girls. What I loved about Princess Leia is that while she might have been a princess in name and title, she was not your typical fairytale or Disney princess. She fought hard in the front lines with the boys. She was sassy and smart-talking, and she could hold her own against the villains like Luke or Han.
But what I loved more than anything was that she was present in The Force Awakens, and while she would always be a princess to Star Wars fans, she was now a General. She was also now older with the normal wrinkles and grey hairs and extra weight around the middle. She was the princess AFTER the “Happily Ever After.” The Princess that becomes the Queen (or in this case, the General which is infinitely even more badass). Very rarely do we see the princess after she’s survived the trials of her fairytale, which is why I loved General Leia possibly even more than I loved Princess Leia. Because I want to be as amazing and badass as General Leia is when I grow up. Someone who’s gone through her child rejecting her and murdering people, her twin brother disappearing, and her husband abandoning her out of shame and despair. Someone who fought against the Empire and the Dark Side in youth and now in middle age finds that same Darkness threatening the piece of her home again. That’s a female character to look up to if you ever saw one.
So I mourn the loss of Carrie Fisher too soon. While there are so many other influences she’s had other than Star Wars (especially in the mental health realm which is especially close to my heart), I mourn the loss of the potential for the character of General Leia which I’m so glad that Carrie had agreed to the Star Wars franchise for. She will be incredibly missed there and in all the other beautiful facets of her life and influence.