The Princess Diarist & Episode IX

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by Barb Brown

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of excitement mixed with all sorts of other emotions at the news of the cast announcement for Episode IX of Star Wars.  The death of Carrie Fisher a year and a half ago hit me more than the news of any celebrity death before; it came at a time when we as Star Wars fans were getting to experience more of the Carrie Fisher we know and love as she reprised her role as Princess Leia.  

Many of us wondered what this meant for episode IX and how would they go about her character? There was a lot of speculation about whether they would use CGI, would kill her off in the opening crawl, or, heaven forbid, recast her role. Now the news this last week+ that they are going to use unused footage of Carrie Fisher from Episode VII has had a mixed response, but I for one am relieved and excited at this news!  I was honestly nervous that they may recast her, and wasn't thrilled about CGI. However, it does make me wonder if it puts the writers in a box, as they are limited to what footage they already have. Thoughts I’m sure many people out there have had at this news.

Beyond the immediate thoughts about what this news means for Episode IX, the announcement really caused a lot of reminiscing (if I may use that word having not actually known Carrie Fisher), but reminiscing at the ways I did know and experience Fisher in the avenues she allowed her fans to share in.  

Specifically, this last year I’ve been reading her book she wrote and published in 2016, The Princess Diarist, and I also watched her HBO live show, “Wishful Drinking,” which is based on her book of the same name. The Princess Diarist allowed us to read about Carrie’s experiences as a young actress, and what it was like to be cast into the role of Leia.  It’s an intriguing look into how a young actress can be influenced by the roles she played, and the actors she worked with.

What I loved about this book was how candid and open Fisher was about the experiences she had, whether good or bad, and how that shaped her into who she is now. Similarly, in “Wishful Drinking,” Fisher describes what life was like for her at an even younger age being raised by a mother who was a famous actress and a father who was a musician and went on to marry Elizabeth Taylor.  

Throughout this live performance, (and in life itself) Fisher has this unique ability to take her “abnormal” upbringing and experiences and turn them into a satirical comedy about her life and struggles with depression and addiction. She goes on to describe how taking the role of Leia was both a blessing and a curse, but at that point in life (2010), she is able to not only laugh at her character, but use it as a tool to share who she really was with her fans. Out of that came this caring and loving woman, who, even though many of us knew her only as Princess Leia, she became a voice to many struggling in the ways she did.  She brought herself down to the level of the average person by opening herself up to all her fans, and sharing her humanity, in all its frailty and excitement, ups and downs, and became far more to her fans than just “Princess Leia.”

As a fan of Star Wars since I was 3 years old, I absolutely adored Princess Leia, and that love and admiration has grown into an appreciation for not only the character, but the wonderful woman that Carrie Fisher was.  She was taken from this world far too early, with so much life and sarcasm and comedy and love left to give. I’m over the moon that we get to see her one last time in Episode IX, and love that our beloved character of Princess Leia will forever be remembered as Carrie Fisher.

What are your thoughts on this Episode IX Leia and casting news? Comment below or find us on all social media homes @ unmistakablysw and let us know!