It's never easy to say goodbye to an icon. Carrie Fisher's death was a blow to many people, as the actress and writer was nothing short of an inspiration, both through her work in entertainment and her tireless advocation of mental health awareness. But Fisher lead something of a dual existence, one which she eloquently explains in her latest memoir The Princess Diarist, and just as she shared her life with Leia Organa it seems Fisher will share her death too.
Or, maybe she will. We still don't know what's to become of the indomitable General Leia Organa in Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, though at least one rumor has been put to rest — after concerns that Leia would be recreated using CGI, as she was in Rogue One, Lucasfilm/Disney obliquely stated that this would not be the case.
Of course, this leaves only two options for Leia's fate in the remaining sequel trilogy films: Either Leia will be written out of the plot to reduce her screen time to nothing, or she will die. And I know which one I'd rather see happen, because though it might be painful for us to watch, Leia deserves her heroic final stand.
Leia Would Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
It's difficult to tell the state of things as they are now — how big a role Leia played in #StarWars8, whether that role is flexible enough to allow her to be written out, or whether her scenes will be cut to give her an offscreen death early on. The possibilities are rather concerning, and after several of Leia's scenes fell victim to #TheForceAwakens' cutting room floor, she deserves to have as much screen time as possible in Star Wars 8 and #StarWars9.
Purely from a plot perspective, this makes sense — as the war between the Resistance and the First Order ramps up, General Leia should be there leading the charge. Leia is one of #StarWars' most fascinating characters: From becoming the youngest senator ever elected, to playing a vital role in the Rebel Alliance, to being the only one to sense the New Senate's corruption, Leia is one of the most pivotal players in galactic history.
She's also an exciting, atypical character, using her passion and anger just as much as her wit and ingenuity. Leia has long been an inspiration to many people, and because of this she can't be written out or brushed to the side — the end of her story has to mean something.
The danger here is, in trying to avoid CGI recreations out of respect to Carrie Fisher, that Leia might be casually written out, either in Episode VIII or IX. Yet that would certainly be a disservice to both the character and the actress.
A Heroic Final Stand
The solution? Well, without seeing the script — and the plan for Episode IX — it's difficult to say. But Leia's end should be important to the story, and hopefully, crucial to the Resistance. This military splinter group was entirely formed by Leia in order to combat the First Order, whom she saw as the greatest threat to freedom in the galaxy.
It would be fitting for Leia to go down fighting, out there on the front lines of battle — though as a commander of the Resistance, Leia's place is really back at the D'Qar base, it wouldn't be out of character for Leia to ignore protocol and charge out to help her troops. Or maybe, in an homage to the evacuation of Hoth in Empire, Leia might die while helping her soldiers escape an attack.
Of course, with her son busy being this generation's answer to Darth Vader, and her brother taking an extended island vacation, Leia deserves to have a couple of reunions before her story comes to an end. Unfortunately, it's difficult to know whether these scenes — reported by The Hollywood Reporter to be an important part of the next two Star Wars movies — take place in The Last Jedi or Episode IX. If Leia wasn't going to meet Kylo Ren and Luke Skywalker again until Star Wars 9, it's possible these scenes may never come to pass. Which would naturally be tragic.
But this aside, at this point all I want is for Leia's death to have an impact on the greater story of the Star Wars Saga. This is a character I grew up with, who taught me that being outspoken and rebellious was admirable, that taking a stand against tyranny was one of the bravest and best things a person could do. In recent years, the symbolism of Leia's character has only become more relevant, as we all cling to the hope she so valiantly fought for.
The fact is, we can't know how the plot of the sequel trilogy will be rewritten to incorporate Fisher's passing. All we know is that Leia as is important in the real world as she is in the fictional Star Wars universe — and the best way to honor both her and Carrie Fisher would be to ensure her death has just as great an impact as her life did.