Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill have been honored as Disney Legends in a special ceremony at the D23 Expo. It's been an emotional year for Star Wars fans, following the sudden loss of Fisher when passed away at age 60 on December 27, 2016. Fortunately, Fisher had completed filming her scenes as General Leia in the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi before her passing, and in the past few months months, Lucasfilm and Disney have slowly been revealing images and footage of the late screen icon in her final performance; along with tributes from several Star Wars luminaries – including Mark Hamill – at gatherings like Star Wars Celebration in Orlando, Florida, in April.
The celebration of Fisher continued Friday at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, where the actress was posthumously named a Disney Legend in a ceremony where Hamill was named a Disney Legend as well. The introduction to the ceremony honoring Fisher, much like her tribute at D23, included a video featuring Fisher's film acting work, as well as her accomplishments as a screenwriter and her life with her late showbiz mom Debbie Reynolds.
Following the presentation, Disney CEO Robert Iger delivered a tribute, saying, "Carrie has been an iconic part of the Star Wars franchise as you saw from the very beginning, and she will always hold a very special place in our hearts, and the hearts of fans around the world. We all miss her talent, her wit, and her friendship." Talking about her role in her final film, The Last Jedi, Iger says, "As always, she brought her trademark strength, heart and humor to the role, which is truly, truly a legendary performance."
Iger said that Fisher's daughter, Billie Lourd, could not be at the ceremony to accept her mother's honor. But in a letter read by Iger, Lourd said she realized that as much as she loved visiting Disneyland as a kid with her mom, she said Fisher loved it even more. Further reading from the Lourd's letter, Iger said, "Becoming a part of the Disney family was truly an amazing moment for her. She secretly always wanted to become a Disney princess, so getting to become a Disney princess and becoming a Disney legend would have been her ultimate dream."
During his acceptance speech, Hamill thanked everybody from Star Wars creator to the thousands of behind the scenes crew members to the fans. According to US News, he also paid tribute to Fisher, saying, "I would love to give my deepest respects for the super cool space sis I have in Carrie Frances Fisher. I loved her. We were like siblings. The good and the bad! We'd have huge fights and not speak to one another."
While the honors were bittersweet in Fisher's absence, it's great to see Disney honoring the Skywalker siblings at such a momentous time in the Star Wars saga – 40 years after the release of the first Star Wars film and months before their last big screen appearance together in The Last Jedi. While fans have yet to discover what sort of magic writer-director Rian Johnson will bring to the film, one thing is for certain: The Last Jedi will be a very emotional sendoff for Fisher fans for a legend not only of Disney, but a legend in Hollywood.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019