Last week, fans were hit hard with the news that Carrie Fisher had passed away at the age of 60 due to complications that arose from a recent heart attack. The actress, screenwriter, and activist – best known for her iconic turn as Princess Leia Organa in the Star Wars movie franchise – was a on a flight from London to Los Angeles when she went into cardiac arrest. She was rushed to the hospital, where she remained for several days before passing away on December 27. Her mother, Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds, died the following day at age 84.
Fisher's friends and family have since mourned her loss with many a touching statement. Star Wars: The Force Awakens writer-director J.J. Abrams remembered her as “brilliant and beautiful, tough and wonderful, [and] incisive and funny,” while original Star Wars creator George Lucas called her “feisty, wise, and full of hope.” Mark Hamill, Fisher’s Star Wars co-star and on-screen brother, previously opened up about her death to Entertainment Weekly, but has now returned with a poignant guest column for THR.
In it, he reflects on their rise to the spotlight amidst the initial Star Wars craze. Of their first meeting, he wrote:
“I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, it’ll be like working with a high school kid’ But I was just bowled over. I mean she was just so instantly ingratiating and funny and outspoken. She had a way of just being so brutally candid. I’d just met her but it was like talking to a person you’d known for ten years. She was telling me stuff about her stepfather, about her mom, about Eddie Fisher — it was just harrowing in its detail. I kept thinking, ‘Should I know this?’ I mean, I wouldn’t have shared that with somebody that I had trusted for years and years and years. But she was the opposite. She just sucked you into her world.”
He goes on to discuss the longtime friendship they cultivated off screen, proclaiming that “making her laugh was always a badge of honor,” and recounting the lengths he went to in order to make that happen. As he wrote:
“She would do these crazy things and make me do these crazy things, but I really don’t think they were crazy after all. In a way, it was a defense mechanism for her. She was so off the wall, she could use it as protection. Part of what was so poignant about her was that she was vulnerable, that there was this glimmer of a little girl that was so appealing and it roused the protective nature in my personality.”
He concludes that while she was “a handful” and “high maintenance,” his life “would have been so much drabber and less interesting if she hadn’t been the friend that she was.”
Indeed, many have similarly commemorated Fisher as a force of nature — a brash, outspoken, one-of-a-kind person who left an indelible mark on the lives of those that knew her. Her cultural impact, too, will long be remembered, as she made powerful strides as an advocate for things like feminism and mental health. Fans will get a chance to see her tackle Princess Leia one last time when Star Wars Episode VIII hits screens later this year, as she reportedly finished filming prior to her death. Fisher may be gone, but her legacy will live on.