She kicked ass, took names, and made no apologies. What Lucas missed in her further feminist character development may be seen in The Force Awakens, and carried forward with the character Ren. Still, Princess Leia broke boundaries women felt in the real world.
Whether or not Carrie Fisher appreciated that all her other roles diminished in comparison to a sci-fi blockbuster trilogy, a generation of women are grateful. Arguably, her definitive role may have surpassed her wonderful mother’s extensive portfolio. Debbie Reynolds was the quintessential Hollywood starlet of post-war America. Her singing, dancing, and light-hearted sunshine made America seem whole again. She cast a long shadow for a child in show-business.
Carrie struggled mightily with bipolar disorder and drugs, but she was unflinching in her very public self-evaluation. As I got older, I realized that perhaps Carrie’s most important role was that of herself. A generation with a code of silence about personal issues, who stigmatized mental health and drug addiction, and mightily misunderstood the necessity of failure in a successful life was confronted with one of their own. Here, perhaps, was not the hero they thought they deserved, but the one they needed. For my generation, the children who had grown up with misguided parents, Carrie’s self-reflection helped remind us that we weren’t crazy. Our parents weren’t perfect, and we wouldn’t be, either.
As she wished, I will pass along her self-prepared obituary: "I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra." Thank you, Carrie, and may be the force by with you.
Opinions expressed are my own and do not represent the opinions of organizations I am affiliated with.