To be sure, Carrie Fisher accomplished more over the course of her life than portraying Leia Organa. And like most of the "classic trilogy" Star Wars cast (except Harrison Ford, and I guess Anthony Daniels), she spent quite some time trying to escape her role in the SW films as a career-defining fact. But when I saw Star Wars for the first time as a kid, it changed my life immediately-- it's one of the big reasons I work in audio now, looking back-- and anyone involved with it had a kind of mystic aura when I was a kid. OK, they've had a mystic aura forever.
Chris Taylor's fascinating book "How Star Wars Conquered The Universe" relates that Leia's storylines were continually chipped away by script revisions-- to the point where her character was vastly underused in the films, along with Fisher's immense talent. Still, from the social media reaction I've been seeing, many people I know (especially women) have gained tremendous inspiration from Leia, and from the actress' strength in battling mental illness and substance abuse.
Fisher's salty, self-deprecating humor was a rare treat. You watched one interview or one celebrity roast, and you kind of wanted her as your permanent house guest. If you ever get the chance to watch a filmed performance of her Broadway show "Wishful Drinking", do yourself a favor.
It was a thrill to see her reprise the role of Leia in "The Force Awakens" last winter-- General Organa nowadays-- and it was fitting that George Lucas owned her likeness no longer. Somehow Fisher's personality shone through, and the character was who she said she was. The life lived in the interim had seen to that.
So it's a staggeringly sad thing for her to have departed this life at such a young age. The news hit me hard, as it did many others. But I'm buoyed by the words posted recently by my friend Josie: "Since childhood I have attempted, again and again, to emulate her fierce energy, her quick wit, her profound strength and wisdom while fighting for what's good and what's right. No one compares." Is she talking about Fisher or Leia here? Not sure. Don't care. Amen either way. Especially if it's both.
Thank you, Carrie Fisher, for everything.