During the recording of Bop’s first Podcast a few weeks back, he asked me what was the first favorite Movie I liked as a kid. As a Gen-X guy in my mid-forties, I would easily say Star Wars: A New Hope however, as much as I loved the 1977 classic that had established a new direction within the genre of Sci Fi Cinema, I replied: “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” because of its epic battle scenes, stunning set pieces along with breathtaking special effects, a kick-ass soundtrack but most important, the nihilistic approach to this incredible sequel!
The segments which embolden themes of love, betrayal and sacrifice had solidified that this franchise wasn’t afraid to take any chances to the extent of that certain revelation followed by a mindfuck of a cliffhanger.
What also helped to define ESB, was the chemistry between Han Solo and his then unexpected love interest Leia Organa performed by actress Carrie Fisher. During the first Star Wars, you can sense an aire of sexual tension between the two protagonists when hiding their mutual attraction underneath of blanket of indifference until that arc progressed much further near the 3rd act of the sequel as witnessed in that classic moment when Solo was being lowered into the Carbonite freeze chamber.
Carrie not only made her fictional character a household name among geeks and cinephiles, but is one of the more memorable heroines of Science Fantasy and Pop Culture in general. Leia be bitchy or very condescending but at the same time, exude the persona of a strong-willed warrior.
Case in point, the Detention center scene from a New Hope that was perhaps Fisher’s shining moment as she demonstrated leadership via taking charge of a situation that would otherwise seem hopeless.
Its scene stealers like this which had cemented Fisher’s role as perhaps Sci-Fi’s First Lady and with that honor, served as an inspiration to Women around the world when at the time the leading heroes were predominantly male. It’s no doubt that Leia had set the precedent for other strong female characters in pop culture from Marionette, of Marvel’s Micronauts series to Ellen Ripley of Aliens and much, much more.
Sadly, Carrie has made her transition from this world among so many other actors and celebrities this year.
The world of Cinema and geekdom shall mourn her loss. Bless her for all her contributions for she shall be sorely missed.
Farewell Sweet Princess and may the force be with you…always.