Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa in The Force Awakens
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Warning: mild spoiler for Rogue One

Kyle and I went to see Rogue One on Christmas Eve. (Mild spoiler alert: there’s a short scene with Princess Leia in it.) I was sad, seeing the character that Carrie Fisher played. She was still alive at that point. All we knew was she’d had some kind of heart problem, so we were hoping she’d be all right.

Then Tuesday morning, I saw the news on a friend’s Facebook page. I went and told Kyle. We both agreed that 2016 can kiss our ass.

It’s funny how much I care, given that I didn’t know Carrie Fisher, and the role I mostly knew her for was Princess Leia, and she did that over 30 years ago. I did see her in When Harry Met Sally, and I really loved her work in that.

OK, now, ashamed confession time: I disparaged the way she looked and acted in The Force Awakens. I barely recognized her! Her voice didn’t sound the same, her face looked frozen (did she have plastic surgery??), and she was really stout.

Now I’m seeing quotes of hers going around Facebook. Like these tweets of hers:

“Please stop debating about whether or not I aged well. Unfortunately, it hurts all three of my feelings. My body hasn’t aged as well as I have. Blow us.”
“Youth and beauty are not accomplishments, they’re the temporary happy by-products of time and/or DNA. Don’t hold your breath for either.”

So I’m annoyed with myself, and I’m doing what I should have done at the start. Accept her for who she was, for the way she really was. After all, Harrison Ford got old and craggy, but I didn’t disparage him. Mark Hamill’s nose got broken in a car accident, and he looks rough and old now, but I didn’t disparage him, either.

Plus which, I’d forgotten that she had bipolar disorder. And for a while she was addicted to cocaine and prescription painkillers. Life wasn’t easy on her.

From the first time I saw Star Wars — what everyone now calls Star Wars: A New Hope — I loved Carrie Fisher’s character. Princess Leia was truly a Bad Ass. She had the greatest lines!

“Aren’t you a little short for a storm trooper?”
“This is some rescue! When you came in here, didn’t you have a plan for getting out?”
“Someone has to save our skins. Into the garbage chute, fly boy!”
“Governor Tarkin, I should have expected to find you holding Vader’s leash. I recognized your foul stench when I was brought on board.”

Princess Leia could shoot, think on her feet, and swing across an abyss just as well as Luke could. She didn’t need anyone to rescue her.

And by the time of The Force Awakens, Leia’s a general! She was a good enough soldier and strategist to rise to the highest military rank! That’s a bigger deal than Han Solo still being a smuggler, or Luke Skywalker secluding himself on some remote island somewhere.

I wish there were more strong female characters in the Star Wars movies. Padmé Amidala was strong in Attack of the Clones, but by Revenge of the Sith, she was all helpless and “Oh, Ani, what shall we do!” Rey is great, and I hope we see more like her.

I wish there was more diversity in The Force Awakens and Rogue One. Most of the characters were white men! At least there were a few women X-Wing Fighter pilots in Rogue One, but they were all white. And I did enjoy seeing some original footage of some of the actors from the first movie.

Well, there’ll be more Star Wars movies. I hope they have more diversity. I’d like to see more of General Organa, but they’d have to use CGI to do it. The CGI’d faces in Rogue One? I couldn’t look at them cause they were so clearly wrong. I had to focus on something else in the frame, or squint. So even if they bring back General Organa, it won’t be the same for me.

And just as I finished writing this, I heard that Debbie Reynolds had had a stroke. Then a few hours later… she’s gone too! 2016 can indeed kiss my ass.

“Hope is not lost today… it is found.” – General Leia Organa, The Force Awakens
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