At a recent press conference for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the women of the film’s cast, Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma), Laura Dern (Vice Admiral Holdo), Daisy Ridley (Rey) and Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico) were asked to share their experience and the impact that both Carrie Fisher, and the pioneering role that she played in Star Wars saga, had on them as both children and adult women.
Carrie, who passed away last year on December 27, after completing her work on The Last Jedi for director Rian Johnson, was an icon for generations of girls and women as the powerful and defiant Leia, and also an inspiration in real life as someone who lived her life honestly, candidly, and without any restrictions or constraints.
“I was first shown A New Hope when I was 6, and I remember thinking: ‘Wow, Leia is really different,’” said Christie. “It stayed with me throughout my formative years. She’s really interesting, smart, funny, courageous, and bold. She doesn’t care what people think, and she isn’t prepared to be told what to do.”
The Game of Thrones star continued, “As someone who didn’t feel like they fitted the homogenised view of what a woman was supposed to be, Leia was a huge inspiration. That you could be an individual and celebrate yourself, and be successful without making some sort of huge compromise.”
Dern, who makes her debut in the Star Wars franchise with The Last Jedi, said that she felt the same way as Christie when she first watched Leia on the screen as a young girl, adding that her respect for the character carried over to Fisher herself. “What moved me the most about the icon she gave us, and also who she was personally, was how she was always so straightforward, and without shame. Rian has beautifully captured all of that and her grace in this amazing, beautiful, pure performance.”
Ridley, who mentioned how emotional the shoot for The Last Jedi was, focussed on Fisher’s other legacy, her daughter Billie Lourd. “Carrie’s daughter has, I think, all of those qualities. She’s smart, funny, shameless and wonderful. I think her bringing up her daughter to be all that, it speaks volumes to the amazing person Carrie was.”
Tran nicely summed up the others, and said, “Something about Carrie Fisher that I really look up to is, and something I didn’t realise until recently, was just how much courage it takes to truly be yourself when you’re on a public platform. She was unapologetic and openly herself. That is something that I am trying to do, and it’s hard. She will always be an icon as Leia, but also as Carrie. I am so fortunate to have met her.” Star Wars: The Last Jedi is out in theatres on December 15.