When it was announced that JJ Abrams was taking the reins of the Star Wars universe, I was one of the few who honestly wasn’t very happy. Truth be told, I’ve never found JJ’s films to be all that good: as a filmmaker he definitely crafts some striking visuals but as a storyteller everything either moves at a blistering pace with little to no nuance OR he chocks the frame with enough gobbledygook to distract the most ardent viewer from the rips in the seams. When JJ clarified that he’d be bringing back the stars of the Original Trilogy for yet one more spin in the galaxy far, far away, I at least found comfort in knowing that the controls of the Millennium Falcon would rest once more in the hands of learned talent and not ‘the next big thing’ from Hollywood.
As I said earlier today in a post on a political message board, Carrie Fisher was pop culture for an entire generation or two of moviegoers. Though there’s no doubt her star had faded somewhat (the passage of time is unkind to us all), she remained galactic royalty to those us who learned to look to the stars in search of entertainment more than we did (ahem) for Muslim outreach. (Sorry, President Obama, but there are some gaffes you just never live down.) In her time with the Rebellion, she taught boys and girls to fight on both sides of the silver screen, showing us that nobility never meant you wouldn’t face danger up to your elbows in gunk with the trash compactors walls closing in; in fact, maybe nobility was precisely why some princesses ended up right there in the thick of it.
She may have left us today, but her legacy much like that of the space saga she inhabits will live on forever. What she did onscreen will continue to inspire, always reminding us to reach for that better part of ourselves while standing toe-to-toe with baddies as big and imposing as Darth Vader … especially when that bad guy might turn out to be your very own father. She leaves us with memories of a performance deserving of so much more than some Academy statue, and her words and works will always find a place within the hearts and minds of those forever young-at-heart, strong with the Force, and willing to travel far, far away for a shot at the big time.
May the Force be with her. Always.