This is a bit late, but I wanted to talk about what Carrie Fisher meant to me.
First, it is important to acknowledge all of the incredible things Carrie Fisher did that were not portraying Princess Leia. She was an accomplished author and script doctor. She was a fantastic actor. She was an invaluable advocate for mental health, addiction, and feminism. Unfortunately, I’m not as well versed in the non-Star Wars aspects of her life as I should be, but I’m working on it.
Second, I’ll acknowledge that Carrie Fisher != Princess Leia. One is a fictional character, etc. But Princess Leia bears Carrie Fisher’s visage, and will continue to until another actor takes up the role. To imagine Princess Leia- something we’ve all done at one time or another- is to picture Carrie Fisher.
And that’s something I have done a lot. I was a big Star Wars nerrrrrd, getting heavy into the Expanded Universe and consuming every story I could find. So, I think it is fair to say I have a more in-depth understanding of Princess Leia than most people. The original films portray her as a strong, independent woman who’s just as capable a senator as she is a guerrilla fighter. But the Leia Organa Solo of the books? Not only is she still a badass, she’s also the head of the government (the New Republic created after the Empire is defeated), she develops basic Force powers (she is a Skywalker, after all), she is never tempted by the dark side (no Darth Mutters on her watch), and she does all this while a wife and mother to three kids.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was really important for budding Aaron to be exposed to such an awesome, strong female character that kicked ass with a blaster and was Chief of State. And the whole time, I pictured Carrie Fisher there, fighting for the people of the galaxy. I’d like to think that she would be okay with that- that as long as we acknowledged she was a real, flawed person, we could also imagine her likeness out among the stars.
P.S. Disclaimer here that there’s also a whole bunch of Princess Leia-related garbage in the Expanded Universe, including Han’s “I’ll abduct you in an attempt to woo you” bulllllshit from The Courtship of Princess Leia.