Carrie Fisher, 1956-2016

There are going to be plenty of folks mourning the loss of Carrie Fisher for her role as Princess Leia. And, to be fair, for so many of us to lose a cultural touchstone, a link to our childhoods, and a great character in film, that alone will sting. But let’s not forget Carrie Fisher’s role in humanizing mental illness. Her bravery in not only admitting her issues with bipolar disorder, but facing them head-on in the public eye, made the real Carrie Fisher as much of a badass as her silver screen counterpart as Princess Leia.

The world grows quite a bit darker today with her loss.

– Don Becker

 

I was an anxious wreck on December 23. I saw the news that Carrie Fisher had suffered a heart attack on a flight and wasn’t doing well. The last thing I wanted to do was stay glued to my news feed, but I couldn’t tear myself away, hoping for any good news regarding our favorite space princess.

Later that evening, I went to see Rogue One again with my parents. That final scene ushered in the memories of my childhood admiration Princess Leia and the hope she represented.

For a few days, it seemed that Carrie Fisher was okay. Fans poured loving messages and support for the iconic actor, author, feminist and mental health advocate. That’s why I was blindsided today when I heard of Fisher’s passing. Like many have said, this death is profoundly sad to a large group of people. The world will be worse off for the loss of Carrie Fisher, but we should never forget the message represented by the character and the woman.

I’m struggling with how sad this news has made me, I’m significantly sadder than I ever imagined I might be.

– AJ Moser

Princess Leia was one of only a small handful of women in the Star Wars trilogy, but she was arguably the most empowering and culturally important character.

The world will be worse off without Fisher. Activists everywhere have lost a powerful voice, film has lost an outspoken icon, and we have all lost a princess and a general.

Rest In Peace.

– Sam Desatoff

I type the name Carrie Fisher with leaden fingers as my heart knows the context for which I write it; a champion for speaking frankly about mental health and for showing boys and men that women can fire a blaster with deadly accuracy, Carrie is royalty. In a time of such deep sadness, I am thankful that she has left a legacy that is so profoundly woven into the fabric of my culture that she will never be forgotten and will continue to inspire humans young and old forever.

While I cannot wait to see what is in store for Leia in the next film, I am not ready for her story to end.

– Erik Weinbrecht

For some reason this has kind of stuck with me? Fisher at the Hay Festival of Literature and Arts (via Cinema Blend) on killing Jabba. I’d like to think that killing a giant monster is what I’m doing every day, in some small cosmic way. May the Force be with her.

“I had a lot of fun killing Jabba the Hutt. They asked me on the day if I wanted to have a stunt double kill Jabba. No! That’s the best time I ever had as an actor. And the only reason to go into acting is if you can kill a giant monster.”

– David Shimomura

 

When Luke was whiny, petulant, and naive, when Han tried burying his concern in apathy, Leia picked up a blaster and got down to business. She was never tempted by the dark side, not even once. She choked her captor with the very chain he bound her by. She was made a princess and then made herself a general. She wasn’t afraid of anything, not even Darth Vader.

When Carrie Fisher realized she was carrying demons on her back, she got down to business. While she had seen her share of darkness, she wasn’t afraid to fight it. More importantly, she wasn’t afraid to talk about it. Even more important than that, she wasn’t afraid to laugh about it. She choked those demons with the very chains they’d have bound her by, and flipped them the double-bird on the way out. Then she held them up and told us all if she could free herself, then so could we. She wasn’t afraid of anything.

Leia was the hero I pretended to be. Carrie was the woman I still hope to become.

“If my life wasn’t funny it would just be true, and that is unacceptable.”

She drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra.

– Sara Clemens

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Illustration by Amanda Hudgins

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