When Carrie Fisher was first reported to have been stricken with some sort of mysterious attack while onboard an airplane, I steeled myself for the worst. Ironically, the news broke while I was waiting for a screening of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story to hit, and you could see people with cell phones gasping and crying as the news moved like wildfire through the auditorium. Technical wizardry briefly showed #CarrieFisher in that film as we met her as Princess Leia in 1977's Star Wars.
"Oh Lord, let it not be drugs," was my initial thought. Fisher has had legendary battles with substance abuse and bipolar disorder over the years. After months of mixed messages, Variety confirmed the official cause of death for Fisher. Carrie Fisher died of a combination of sleep apnea and drugs (cocaine, heroin, methadone, ecstasy). Fisher's family has resisted a full autopsy, so the coroner's findings were largely based on physical examination and a toxicology report. Carrie Fisher has made such an effort to pull her life back together for the new Star Wars resurgence, and sadly the last time we'll see her as Leia will be in December's #TheLastJedi.
Ask any guy who grew up with #StarWars, and we’ll admit it: We were all in love with her at some point. #PrincessLeia blasted stormtroopers, piloted speeder bikes, commanded armies, and choked out a Hutt in the hottest outfit in film history. She was awesome, and we loved her for it — part of us always will. So, until we’re all one with the Force, here are my five favorite Leia memories.
1. 'Aren't You A Little Short For A Stormtrooper?' (A New Hope)
Luke and Han's improvised rescue mission aboard the Death Star is going off the rails until they meet Leia. The princess, who at this point has been tortured by her own father and watched her home planet reduced to dust, doesn't jump into the arms of her rescuers. Leia wasn't that kind of girl. She sized up Luke in his stormtrooper gear, probably assuming she was in for another round of torture with Vader, and drawls, "Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?" Then she proceeds to save them all (and make Han insane in the process). The trio's group dynamic was complete.
2. 'You Scruffy Looking Nerf Herder!' (The Empire Strikes Back)
This scene perfectly encapsulates one-half of Leia and Han's tempestuous relationship. They clearly are already in love when Empire begins, but she's not about to admit it and they both drive each other up the wall. I think we have to call the argument a Leia win as she hits him with "scruffy looking nerf herder," kisses the other guy and storms out. Han then has a Wookie laugh at him.
3. 'I Love You.' 'I Know.' (The Empire Strikes Back)
The other half of Leia and Han's romance was that, when it counted, they absolutely adored one another. Chosen as the guinea pig for Luke to be carbon frozen as a gift for the Emperor, Han finally gets Leia to admit what he's been trying to coax out of her the entire film: an "I love you." And just so she knows he won the argument, as well as her heart, he simply replies: "I know."
4. Slave Leia Chokes A Hutt Out! (Return Of The Jedi)
After saving Han from his popsicle limbo, Leia is forced into a slave girl outfit for the pleasure of glorified slug who has no idea who he just chained within easy choking range. The thing about Leia that made the title "princess" almost silly was that she defied all the preconceptions that come with that role. She blasted people, she ordered troops, she was the one who most often saved the day, and if a Hutt puts her in a metal bikini, that Hutt better be prepared to have his slimy self chain-choked at the first opportunity.
5. 'I Always Hated Watching You Leave' (The Force Awakens)
Thirty years after what appeared to be a perfect ending for our heroes, The Force Awakens finds the trio splintered. Leia is no longer a princess, but a general. Luke's attempt to restart the Jedi Order ended in horror, with Leia and Han's son turning to darkness. Han's been running from his estranged wife and trying to recapture the simpler times with Chewie. Carrie Fisher wasn't given a lot of screen time in Episode VII, but her scenes with Han were very powerful, especially this exchange. This is the last time they'll ever speak, and they're still teasing each other. It was a beautiful good-bye.
Thank you, Carrie, may the Force be with you.
What was your favorite Carrie Fisher moment?