1977 was dismal, especially in the cinema. For ten years, movies were existentialist and fatalist rubbish, with protagonists who were no better than the antagonists. What were the choices? Bonnie and Clyde. The real Bonnie and Clyde were psychopaths. The Graduate. Boring pessimistic garbage. The Godfather. An excellent movie, but everyone except Kay was a murderer. The Sting. Everyone was a criminal. Silent Running and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Both made me want to soak my head in used motor oil. I could go on. If there was a good guy, he was a loser, and usually ended up dying miserably.
Star Wars changed that. I will always know it as Star Wars, because I saw it before it was subtitled Episode IV. It was the first movie I saw that wasn’t Walt Disney or twenty years old where the good guys actually stood for something. They also won. A New Hope? Yeah, it was. That 14 year old sitting in the Woodland Cinema in DeLand in the summer of 1977 realized that there were things worth fighting for, and that we could win.
One of the Great Trio was Princess Leia. She was stubborn, tough, and haughty. She also kicked ass and didn’t bother taking names. She sassed Darth Vader and lived to tell about it. She insulted Tarkin. Leia withstood more trauma than Luke and Han combined. Not even Luke had to live with the destruction of his entire planet. She didn’t become an alcoholic in the aftermath, either.
No one could have played Leia with more aplomb and conviction than Carrie Fisher.
I am beyond devastated. I can honestly say that Star Wars changed my life, transforming me into an optimist. Carrie Fisher was a part of that, and her death is beyond words. The Death Star has fired one final salvo. The end scene in Rogue One is now more poignant than ever.
You are one with the Force now, my beloved Princess. And our world is a little less full in the aftermath.