With the tragic news yesterday of Carrie Fisher’s passing came an outpouring love and remembrance of an unbelievable person. Carrie was loved by so many people for more than just her work in Star Wars. She was a person that lived life to the fullest and wasn’t ashamed of who she was. That is why so many people loved Carrie but she had a special place for so many Star Wars fans including me.
Carrie transformed Leia into more than just a damsel in distress, she redefined what it meant to be a princess. In a franchise dominated by men, Carrie took her role of Leia and made her character strong and independent. What you have to understand is prior to 1977 when Star Wars came out in theaters the perception of a princess was a damsel in distress waiting for Prince Charming to come save her.
Disney Princesses prior to Star Wars were not independent and free thinking. From Snow White to Cinderella they were young women who needed a male figure to save them from their harsh life. The role of Princess Leia changed that perception of what a princess can do. After Star Wars, Disney Princesses changed to rebellious young women who wanted to be independent and make their own choices in life. The examples are evident from The Little Mermaid to Frozen. Without Carrie Fisher making Princess Leia that rebellious young woman who took control we would have the amount of role models for young girls.
From the moment we first saw Carrie confront Darth Vader in A New Hope to fighting in the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi she held her own in a franchise dominated by men. It would have been very easy for Carrie to be forgotten about or fall into the stereotypical princess role but she made it her own. In a time where Hollywood female roles were subjected to being second tier to men she created a character that inspired strong female characters in the Star Wars Universe like Padme, Rey, Ahsoka Tano, Assajj Ventress and Jyn Erso.
While we mourn the loss of Carrie Fisher in this short time period just remember that her legacy will live longer than anyone of us. She will always be remembered for her role in Star Wars but the impact she had as a strong female will last longer than anyone of us.