Leia Organa
Disney / Lucasfilm Ltd.

Thériault goes on, concluding with, “Princess Leia was great, but General Organa was Fisher's real gift to us. And she's who I'm going to be looking to in dark times. May we all be able to get up every day and, in spite of our pain and loss and fear, put on our boots and vest and plan to destroy the empire.”

Leia, the princess, in becoming Leia, the general, no longer looked outside herself for someone to be her “only hope”. General Organa looked within. She was her own hope. And despite her hardships—including the loss of her son to the Dark Side, and, later, her rogue lover to the lightsaber of her fallen son—she kept going, kept using her skills to make the world a better place.

This is the legacy of Carrie Fisher—not the hairstyle, not the scandal with Harrison Ford, and certainly not the metal bikini. The publicizing of her mental health issues in an attempt to reduce the stigma associated with those issues should be at the forefront of what we remember.

So if you are only able to know and mourn Carrie Fisher through her roles, think of the older, grizzled woman we find leading the Rebellion in “The Force Awakens”.

Therein, you’ll find the real Carrie in the midst of the fiction that brought her to our attention so many years ago.

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