Gentle readers, I am excited. In a few days, I am meeting Carrie Fisher. She’s coming to FandomFest in Louisville, KY, which is about four hours from my house, and I’m going to do a photo op with her. I am not usually one to pay for the chance to meet a celebrity, but considering Princess Leia has been one of my idols ever since I can remember, I’m making an exception.
I’ve never done a photo op before, but one thing I’m fairly certain of is that my audience with her will be limited. I won’t have a chance to say all the things I want to say about how much Leia means to me, so I’m going to type them here.
I’ll start with what I probably will say, if my brain doesn’t shut down completely in some “Football? What’s a football?” type scene. I don’t have the exact words down, but it will be something about how it’s an honor to meet her and that Leia is my hero because she’s strong and funny and a self-rescuing princess. I figure I’ll have enough time to say at least that, provided my ability to speak is still fully operational.
If time were irrelevant, and I could command her attention longer, here are a few things I’d tell her.
- Why Leia is my Hero (the longer version): From the moment I first laid eyes on Princess Leia, I was enamored. Even as a child, I recognized that she was no damsel in distress, and she quickly became part of my Holy Trinity of Self-Rescuing Princesses (along with Wonder Woman and She-Ra). She’s the catalyst for the action in the original Star Wars trilogy, and she’s leader of the Rebel Alliance. Yes, she falls in love with Han Solo, but she doesn’t take any shit from him, either. She’s sarcastic and quick-witted, and I’d argue that she often saves the day. She’s a master class in being a strong female leader.
- The Tragic Saga of my Endor Leia figure: Return of the Jedi was the first Star Wars film I saw in the theatre. I was obsessed with Leia already, but when she appeared in that poncho, chasing Biker Scouts on speeder bikes and hanging out with Ewoks, it only got worse. Immediately, I wanted to go to the toy store and take Leia home. I only had two Kenner figures as a kid, Hoth Leia and Endor Leia. Endor Leia was my favorite. I’ve talked before about carrying her in my pocket because I always wanted her to accompany me on adventures. Sadly, that practice caused her to meet a tragic end by lawnmower when she fell out of my pocket on one of those adventures. I mourned the loss of my plastic friend until Mr. Geeky V and I started dating. I told him the story, and he bought me a replacement. She is one of my prized possessions, and she never goes into the wilds of our yard unaccompanied.
- Princess Leia made me a feminist: I was fortunate to grow up in the ’80s, where we were reaping the benefits of the feminist movements of the ’60s and ’70s, and strong female characters were in more abundance. Argue with me all you want, but I maintain that Princess Leia is one of the best female protagonists in pop culture, for many of the reasons I listed in #1. She, along with the rest of the Holy Trinity of Self-Rescuing Princesses, taught me that it’s okay to be strong, that sometimes you have to rescue yourself, and that if you show you’re worthy, people will look to you to be a leader. It’s interesting to me, watching Star Wars as an adult, that Leia should be the leader of the Rebellion, which includes men and women, and fighting against a literal patriarchy in the Empire. There are no women on the Death Star, at least in the films. You don’t have, in the original trilogy, at least, any female Stormtroopers or Imperial Officers. And yet, Leia unknowingly fights a patriarchy led, at least in part, by her own father. It’s a great symbol of one generation overcoming and fighting the ignorance of the past. She thinks for herself. (Of course, I know that Leia was not raised by her biological father, but it’s still an apt metaphor.)
- Leia’s relationship with Han gave me relationship goals: When I saw Leia and Han together, I knew that’s what I wanted. They give each other a hard time, but ultimately it’s about not taking shit from the other person and being supportive. And it’s also about rescuing each other.
- I’m so excited about Episode VII: The best Christmas present I could ask for is that Leia return to the big screen, and it’s happening this year. I don’t know how much of a part of the film she’ll be, but I smile every time I think about seeing my favorite fictional character ever return to my favorite movie franchise. I’ll expand more in another post, but my hope for Leia is that she once again saves the day somehow and passes wisdom to younger female characters.
- Her scenes in The Blues Brothers are some of my favorites: I’ve seen The Blues Brothers probably hundreds of times, and though the chase scene through the mall is the pinnacle, Carrie Fisher’s scenes are right there at the top. We don’t see her get the revenge she so desires, but I imagine she keeps Jake looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life. Or maybe she eventually succeeds in blowing him to Kingdom Come while maintaining a perfect manicure.
- Ditto for When Harry Met Sally: This movie used to be one of my go-to films to watch regularly. Sure, Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan are funny, but Carrie Fisher is full-on stealth funny in this film.
- I love her sense of humor: After seeing her Wishful Drinking stage show on cable a few years ago, I’m glad to see that a lot of the humor and snark she brings to her roles comes from her directly. She’s on par with Dorothy Parker in my book, and in my book, that’s definitely a good thing.
I could probably find more things to tell her, but these are the highlights. Suffice to say I’m excited to meet someone I admire so much. Here’s hoping I don’t blink in the photo! Or cry. I’m afraid I’m going to cry. We’ll see!