If you are a Star Wars fan, then the disturbance that you felt in The Force yesterday was inescapable. The Star Wars universe that director George Lucas created in 1977 lost one of its shining stars when Carrie Fisher tragically passed away four days after going into cardiac arrest aboard a returning flight from London.
The death came as a shock to the public, as the vibrant 60-year-old actress, writer, and mental health advocate, was reported as being in stable condition days after her heart attack. Fisher’s spirit was as big as the Star Wars universe that she helped to create, with her legendary performances in the original trilogy and last year’s The Force Awakens. However, whenever there is a passing, it also serves as an opportunity to celebrate life.
There’s no doubt that the course of cinematic history was altered the day that Lucas cast Fisher as the spunky Senator, who also moonlights as a Rebel soldier in Star Wars: A New Hope. Thanks to YouTuber WishItWas1984, we get to take an extended sneak peek at the fateful audition that landed Fisher the role of Princess Leia Organa.
The audition sides (short scripts of dialogue) lay out the entire scope of Leia’s mission in A New Hope. It’s worth noting that at the time, no one knew what Star Wars was, so there wasn’t a need to obscure plot details. Fisher is auditioning against future co-star Harrison Ford, who seemingly already had the role locked up by this point – the actor had already collaborated with Lucas on American Graffiti. Forty years later, the chemistry between the two is glaringly clear and was even consummated in a brief real-life love affair, as was recently revealed in Fisher’s latest book, The Princess Diarist.
The casting process for Star Wars has always been a topic of discussion. All of the the roles in the series have become iconic and made worldwide stars out of the participating actors. But that hasn’t kept fans from wondering what the galaxy far, far away would look like if Sylvester Stallone had been cast as Han Solo, or if Tupac Shakur had lived long enough to become Mace Windu. The role of Leia Organa also could have been very different as well, with reports that actress/director Jodie Foster and Laverne & Shirley’s Cindy Williams were both strongly considered for the part.
The audition tape really highlights that at only 19-years-old, Fisher’s focus and understanding of her role was well beyond her years. That same determination and fire Fisher demonstrated in the video translated directly from the audition room straight into cinematic history. As Princess Leia has been a progressive and legendary character, not just in Star Wars lore, but in all of film history. Fortunately, there will be one last performance from Fisher in next year’s Star Wars: Episode VIII, that fans will get to absorb and celebrate. While Fisher may be gone, her 40 years of positive effects on the balance of The Force will continued to be felt forever.