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By now you’ve heard the news. Carrie Fisher has passed away. I’ve been getting text messages and emails for the past few minutes. AP and CNN alerts on my phone. My wonderful writer and assistant editor Christina Janke has posted the story. Friends of friends were on the flight, right in front of her when she had a heart attack. Carrie Fisher is gone.

It feels weird to be texted when someone I’ve only met briefly has died, and yet, it makes sense. My role model, who played the character that has shaped my life is has died. I could go over all the accomplishments of her career, but everyone will be doing that. No part of her interesting and varied life will be left from view. I’m not a news reporter. I cover the geek world. I started a Legion of Leia because of what this character did for me. I guess this is just a way to tell the world what she meant.

Carrie’s humor, her willingness to make fun of herself and what playing Princess Leia did to her career was legendary. What little girls from the ’70s know is that we didn’t have many women to look up to. Those of us who didn’t like to play with dolls and wanted to have adventures like the boys knew that Leia was our only hope. She ran part of the Rebellion. She stood up to Darth Vader. She didn’t flinch, even after the loss of her entire planet. She tried to rescue Han Solo, and baring that success, she strangled Jabba the Hutt with her own slave chain. She won over the Ewoks (that dress came from somewhere and it was likely from their last meal) and became a General.

When I was a girl, the women on TV and in film were largely ornaments. They were prizes. They were decoration. I couldn’t understand, even from a  young age, why that was. Couldn’t we save the day? Why not? I could hold a blaster toy or a lightsaber made of a large stick as well as any boy on my block. Princess Leia evened the playing field for us. She took no shit from anyone. She was lounging on that prison cell bed, after torture, and joking with her rescuer when she first met Luke.

Carrie was so much more than Princess Leia. Please know that I know that. It’s just that, as a little girl, born in 1973, her portrayal of Leia was something that I felt in my bones. Leia was a fire that forged who I am. Leia’s face in Rogue One made me cry. Leia’s heart bolstered mine when it was failing. I thought about her when I was at my lowest. Her snarky tone got me through many a moment when a man thought I couldn’t do whatever it was that was asked of me. I dressed as Leia for Halloween as a little girl. I fight the good fight, regardless of the backlash because of my early exposure to Star Wars. I am one with the Force. The Force is with me. Rest in great peace, Carrie. Your work has inspired so many women. May the Force be with you.

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Jenna Busch

Jenna Busch is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Legion of Leia and has hosted and written for sites like Nerdist, ComingSoon.net, Metro, Birth. Movies. Death., IGN, AOL, Huffington Post and more. She co-hosted Cocktails With Stan with the legendary Stan Lee and has appeared on Attack of the Show, Fresh Ink, Tabletop with Wil Wheaton, in the documentary She Makes Comics, on NPR and Al Jazeera America, and has covered film/TV/gaming/comics for years. She's currently a co-host on Most Craved. She's been published in the comics anthology Womanthology, is a chapter author for Star Wars Psychology: Dark Side of the Mind, Game of Thrones Psychology and Star Trek Psychology and more, and owns a terrifying amount of swords and 20-sided dice. There are also those My Little Pony trailer voice overs that give one nightmares.

8 CommentsLeave a comment

  • “… I think that this would make a fantastic obit- so I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.” Carrie Fisher in WISHFUL DRINKING

  • This news hit me like a shovel to the face when I saw it. For me, being 11 years older than you, the Princess was my first major boyhood crush and has remained so ever since. It’s interesting that the last word I ever heard this character say was “Hope.” and the next day, I read that Ms. Fisher had a massive heart attack on the aircraft bringing her home. From what I was able to gather and being a former paramedic myself, I knew that it was a miracle that she was revived (most aren’t…mad props to the EMT that was on the aircraft with her) and while I was hopeful that things would turn out fine, I knew that the chances of that weren’t good to begin with. So today’s news wasn’t a huge shock, but it hurt all the same.

    May the Force be with you, Carrie. You’ll always be a Princess and General to this fan.

  • My thoughts on Carrie Fisher:
    For so many women of my generation Carrie Fisher may have started out as Princess Leia, our first on-screen fighter, alongside of the guys and a commander but she also let us know her, Carrie.

    A woman who had struggles with her mother, yet found a way back to building a relationship.
    A woman who had weight issues.
    A woman who battled addiction, and won.
    A woman who lived with bipolar disease and anxiety. She not only sought treatment but knew that she required ongoing treatment and was open about it. Open about her need for ECT treatment in the hopes of decreasing the stigma of mental illness.

    Carrie Fisher allowed everyone to see her as a real person, and not one single fuck was given about what others thought.
    That’s why so many of us admired her, not because she was Leia, but because she was Carrie.

  • Jenna-
    I share your pain. I was 15 when A New Hope came out. And Carrie was one of my kick-ass idols. As a young Air Force officer, shortly after Return of the Jedi, I used snark and wits to get my job done. I learned from the best that it was about brains and guts. And Carrie, like the character she portrayed, personally had that in spades. I remember the first time I saw her one-woman show. I laughed, I cried, and boy did I relate.
    But I think it’s the way she embraced the world, foibles and all, when she was back under the harsh lights of the international fandom, that is going to stick with me now. She was herself. And she was a great person.

    I’ll miss her voice.

  • I was shocked at Carrie Fisher’s death. I was on theforce.net and read about it. She lived a good life and inspired many women and girls. I first met Carrie at a Sci-Fi expo in Plano, TX 2002 on the 25th anniversary of Star Wars and got her autograph and photo op. She will always be remembered not as a damsel in distress, but a distressing damsel.

  • Good lord! Is there a Carrie Fisher support group. She meant so much to me as the iconic princess but as I’ve said most of my life – the funniest person on the planet. I had no earthly idea that I would grieve as if she were my sister. Here it is 5 months later and her death has not slipped into sweet nostalgia for a beloved author and personal role model. I’m still scouring you tube and internet for scraps of interviews I haven’t seen. Reading all of her books yet again. Memories enter my head similar to experiences of loss of my own family and friends. Talking aloud in solitude of her because I really have no one to share this with. Is this obsessive? Is it transference of the very real grief that I have in my life. She impacted who I am profoundly and I am coping with a loss I can’t let go. Is anyone out there experiencing this?

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