Today is a sad day for Star Wars fans. I have always thought of Star Wars as Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and the much beloved Carrie Fisher, and now the trinity is broken.
Carrie Fisher was a very important part of my childhood because she helped to shape how I see women. My mother and sister, of course, were also fundamental in this, but fiction played a major role in my morality and how I would come to see the world, or as I thought the world should be.
Like most of you, I saw Star Wars when I was young, I can’t put the finger on the date exactly but I think I was maybe ten or eleven. So imagine, I’m watching Star Wars: A New Hope for the first time and I see this beautiful woman on the screen. Like most fans, I fell in love, but to my surprise, not only was she beautiful, but she could take charge and kick ass.
She told her potential rescuers to pull their heads in, stifle their egos and follow her lead. A lot of people laud the strong female character in modern film, but Carrie Fisher was there first – and in the 70s no less.
Now let’s skip to 40 years later. I’m standing in a line at the Supanova convention in Sydney in 2013. My brother Lindsay is with me. I would love to tell you what we talked about, but I really can’t remember. But what I can remember is that I was standing in line to meet Carrie Fisher.
My little nerd heart was beating so hard I thought a heart attack was imminent. Then the moment finally happened. My brother and I walked into the photo booth and there she was, massive smile on her face. Now, my brother and I are big guys, and she was a petite little lady. But just like the princess I knew, she took charge of the situation and said to us, “Okay, guys, get in here and let’s make a sandwich.” She threw her leg into my brother’s arm and posed for the camera.
I was overwhelmed by the experience, so much so that I nearly forgot to jump into the autograph line where I would get to speak with my princess properly, face to face. I rehearsed what I would say over a thousand times, I had so many questions and so little time. What could I say to one of the heroes of the Rebellion that had never been said before?
I got to the front of the line, handed my box set of Star Wars over to the handler and took a deep breath. Then I came face to face with a legend and blurted out the most cliché line possible: “I just want you to know you will always be my princess.”
And she always will be.