Farewell, Princess Leia
There was only ever one princess.
For many of us, it was Leia.
For those of us who grew up in the 70s, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) was the movie that impacted us in a way no other movie ever would.
That is why 40 years later, we still feel for Leia, Han and Luke.
And that was why there was a great disturbance in the Force yesterday when the world learnt that Carrie Fisher, who played Leia in four Star Wars movies, had died, aged 60.
She suffered a massive cardiac arrest on a plane last Friday.
From her first scene when Leia put the stolen plans of the Death Star into R2-D2, everyone wanted to know who the mysterious woman in white was.
She was the new woman of her era - confident, selfless, a risk-taker.
Here was a female character in the 70s entrusted with the responsibility of leading a rebellion, barking out orders to men, coming up with solutions to tackle problems against insurmountable odds.
There was nothing she couldn't do and Fisher's fans, both men and women, saw themselves in Leia.
She was a rare character then, and it needed a special person to play her. Fisher made the role hers and 40 years after A New Hope, it's hard to imagine anyone else being that princess.
Born to actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher, she snared the role when she was 19.
In her latest book, The Princess Diarist, released this year, she wrote how she began filming Star Wars hoping to have an affair. And she did, with Harrison Ford, who played Han Solo, and who was still married then. She called themselves Carrison.
In it, she wrote: "I liked being Princess Leia. Or Princess Leia's being me. Over time I thought that we'd melded into one...So Princess Leia are us."
Fisher also survived two divorces. She married singer Paul Simon in 1983, but the marriage lasted barely a year.
Her drug use and mental health issues were blamed for the deterioration of their union.
She was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder and suffered from depression.
She then married Hollywood agent Bryan Lourd, who came out as bisexual and they got divorced. They have a daughter, Billie, an actress.
Fisher also made a name for herself as a writer, detailing her battles with drug addictions in her novel, Postcards from the Edge, later made into a movie starring Meryl Streep.
She also contributed to movie scripts like Hook, Sister Act and The Wedding Singer.
And she acted in When Harry Met Sally, Hannah and Her Sisters, and The Blues Brothers.
Lucasfilm, in a tribute yesterday, said it seemed fitting she delivered the final line of 2015's The Force Awakens: "May the Force be with you."
And just as fitting was that she died two weeks after the opening of Rogue One - the standalone Star Wars movie about how rebels stole the plans to the Death Star.
The movie ends with a CGI-ed young Leia escaping from Darth Vader with the plans, which links directly to the opening of A New Hope.
And that's how we'd like to remember Fisher - young, feisty, regal, always there for us.
May the Force be with you, Leia. Always.
Disney faces dilemma over future of Leia character
NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES: Carrie Fisher's unexpected death on Tuesday did not just leave Star Wars fans heartbroken.
It thrust movie studio Walt Disney into a dilemma over the fate of her iconic character, Princess Leia, as it moves forward with the film franchise.
Fisher, 60, enjoyed a new round of fame when Princess Leia, Harrison Ford's Han Solo and Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker were reunited on screen for 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which made more than US$2 billion (S$2.9b) globally.
The actress had finished filming for the 2017 release of Star Wars: Episode VIII, Disney said. Its plot details remain a closely guarded secret.
Fisher was also expected to play a key role in the ninth instalment of the sci-fi saga, due for release in 2019.
A Disney spokesman on Tuesday declined to comment on whether Leia would appear in films beyond Episode VIII.
Star Wars fans were already speculating on how the battle between good and evil could continue without Fisher playing Leia, a fearless Rebel Alliance fighter who had become a general in The Force Awakens.
Leia appears briefly at the end of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as a digital recreation of the young princess.
The late British actor Peter Cushing, who died in 1994, was brought back to life as Death Star commander Grand Moff Tarkin for Rogue One using computer-generated imagery.
Under a 1985 California law, film-makers must get permission from the estate of a celebrity to use his or her image for up to 70 years after death.
Other possibilities include redrafting the plot of Episode IX, re-shooting scenes from Episode VIII, or casting another look-alike actress. On entertainment website Heavy.com, some fans suggested that singer Stevie Nicks could stand in for Fisher in future movies.
Others said she should be given a glorious screen death.
"I swear they better find a way to write Princess Leia out of the movies, cause if they try and recast there will be hell to pay," a fan identified as Kaitlin tweeted.