Ah Leia Akbar

Carrie Fisher, the beloved actress who played the role of Princess Leia Organa in Star Wars, is no longer alive. You’re welcome for the update, recently-awakened coma victim.

There is literally nothing I can say about this. Literally; even praise will be feted as heresy. Legendary comedian Steve Martin, who knew Fisher, dared to tweet that she was beautiful when he met her, and of course the virtue-signalers can’t have that.

This is a gift from the man who made The Jerk and wrote Picasso at the Lapin Agile, you philistines.

I’m unsure as to why Fisher’s ardent followers are so sad. Now she belongs to them entirely. Now, they can watch her as Princess Leia, and set their feelings in amber. Disney must be thrilled, because there’s no chance that Fisher could speak out against them, and whatever footage they managed to shoot of her will gross them another billion in the next “Star Wars”. If it were possible, fans would purchase their tickets to next December’s episode already.

I personally am not sad about Carrie Fisher’s passing; she was not in great health, we all knew it, and to be frank, I don’t think returning to the franchise helped matters. I’m not pointing fingers, but of all the Star Wars fans I’ve known, literally none complimented her Disney cameo. Everyone spoke of it cautiously, like Christopher Reeve’s appearances post-horse. That’s acceptance, not delight.

Star Wars destroyed Carrie Fisher’s career. This, despite her considerable charity work pulling an entire generation of boys through puberty, in 1983. Millennials can never grasp that this woman they exalt was no more than a girl in a bikini strangling a rubber monster 30+ years ago. Those of us alive at the time remember the cold era of realistic, people-oriented dramas that followed, and how every Wars star but Harrison Ford was locked out.

Metaphorical, as well as disturbingly hot.

I mean, name another Carrie Fisher movie outside of Star Wars. She did okay in The Blues Brothers, but her career is sparse over the 1980s; she had to climb a tree and make monkey noises at Jim Belushi in The Man With One Red Shoe, a tepid Tom Hanks steamer. Roles like that are likely why she stayed behind the camera for the most part, making essential script tweaks in varying productions.

Princess Leia was important because she was the bridge. When we played Star Wars as kids, and argued over who got to be Luke or Han, Leia was there for a sister or female friend who otherwise would not get to join. It was Leia who knew what to do with the droid, calmly in the middle of a firefight. When an entire planet is eradicated by the Death Star, it was Leia’s face that first portrayed the gravity of the loss.

Leia was such a pop-cultural icon that she was appropriated wholesale in disparate properties; 1986’s The Transformers: The Movie introduced Arcee, a bald-faced ripoff, down to the buns! (Accompanied by Springer/Han Solo and Hot Rod/Luke Skywalker, of course.) In 1987, Mel Brooks farted out the awful-with-great-bits Spaceballs, which contained a Leia joke that everyone on Earth thought of!

First it was a visual gag, then a product in demand, then a joke of lesser impact.

The buns make another random/ironic appearance, in the overrated 1997 sci-fi trifle The Fifth Element. I’ve probably told you this already, but that movie is unwatchably awful unless you convince yourself it’s a faithful adaptation of a story from an old issue of Heavy Metal. Then the entire running time makes perfect sense. Even the cringe-tastic opera singer, and Chris Tucker performing cunnilingus. Especially the ending.

Seldom if ever cosplayed.

Leia Organa is such a one-princess cultural juggernaut, men of a certain age will come to blows discussing the time she argued with a teddy bear over a hat. Some will even dare to mention that she showed up blitzed to an important Life Day shindig, where she was slated to sing. Her performance strained human-Wookiee relations for decades. Still, we forgave her this, as we forgave her oversight of Chewbacca during that medal of honor ceremony.

Dude, it was Life Day. In the ’70s. We were all wasted.

Part of me is shielding my grief, as I know how it can be exploited. I lamented that the last “Star Wars” episode was a “Death Movie”; now the next inevitably will be, as well. I’ll bet #9 will be Luke’s send-off, and there ya go. A trilogy of your childhood heroes’ demises.

That’ll be even sadder than Carrie Fisher’s death, or her mom Debbie Reynolds dying one day later. I mean, did you come to love Princess Leia because of how she died? Is that what inspired you about her?

Of course not. And now, Leia’s fate is no longer in human hands. She’s a trademark of a corporation. That breaks my heart. I saw her being born! 

The mom died in childbirth, though. They claimed “broken heart”; I say “Jedi’s filthy robe in the delivery room”.

The pressure is on for the director of “Episode 8” to properly canonize Saint Leia. You’ve seen Disney resort to resurrecting Peter Cushing from the dead with CGI; what do you expect will happen here? Disney owns Princess Leia. No human person, excepting possibly a voice actor, has to be compensated for future performances (or, not at a level commensurate with her popularity). Meanwhile, billions of people are thinking about her, right now. Leia is “trending”.

I’m saddened at the loss of Carrie Fisher, the person, but I’m biting it right now, because her fans are understandably emotional and confused. Companies like Disney exploit this behavior, for profit. I don’t want to see that happen, when it’s a perversion of what made Leia an enduring icon, and what she stood for. They’re reducing her to a one-dimensional damsel-in-distress again, when the whole point was that was only how she appeared. A complex, multifarious personality lurked just beneath. Beautiful, witty, and bright.

That’s why I’m holding off on the Princess Leia jokes for the time being.

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Filed under Faint Signals, Girls of BIUL, Idiot's Delight, Nostalgic Obsessions, Saturday Movie Matinee