Wednesday 28 December 2016

Princess Leia

Carrie Fisher 1956-2016

Like many guys of my age, Carrie Fisher left a huge impact on me through the character she will forever be associated with - Princess Leia.

Leia won hearts; with her look, hairstyle and attitude; not giving in to the torture droid in the Death Star, taking over the 'rescue' and blasting a hole into the garbage compactor unit and putting Han Solo in his place - something that I can't imagine any other girl (or guy) having had much success in doing so previously. Solo immediately warms to her and turns on the charm 'your worshipfulness.....' as if he doesn't care, but the more I watch A New Hope then the more it is obvious that Solo is as captivated by Leia from the off as men all around the world/galaxy were. Leia responds beautifully 'will somebody get this big walking carpet out of my way.'

Leia left an incredibly positive impression on me at a young age; taking control of the rescue, the captivating swing with Luke after he had blasted the drawbridge, looking absolutely stunning and awarding medals at the end.... the force was with her.

Leia is at her best and coolest in The Empire Strikes Back; the looks between Leia and Solo, their little mind games with each other, the banter/interplay, the kiss, the 'I love you' moment just as Han is about to be cast into carbonate, to which he beautifully responds 'I know'.

Leia's stunning costumes and hairstyles continue; she may be most famed for her gold bikini in Return Of The Jedi, but her Bespin/Cloud City outfit and hairstyle is Leia at her most beautiful for me.

After Solo is frozen and Vader is laying the trap for Luke, Leia takes control (like in A New Hope) in a vain effort to rescue Solo and warn Luke. She later cares for Luke and sets the wheels in motion to rescue Han.

The Spice Girls made their name with girl power but for me and my generation it was Princess Leia who set the scene for how girls should be respected and equal. Leia was up with Luke and Han.

The Return Of The Jedi begins with Leia embarking on another rescue, disguised as a bounty hunter entering Jabba's palace to rescue her beloved Solo. Leia holds her nerve to barter with Jabba 'this bounty is my kind of scum' but is caught in the act of rescuing Han from his frozen state in possibly the most beautifully tender scene from all the Star Wars films. Solo begins to thaw out but is blind from the carbonite/hibernation sickness and asks where he is and who he is with; Leia removes her mask and answers 'someone who loves you.'

The scenes with Leia in a gold bikini as Jabba's prisoner are truly iconic, Leia smoulders with energy and sexuality. The escape from the Sarlacc pit is excellent with another Luke and Leia rope swing.

Leia is supercool in pursuit of Biker Scouts on a speeder, with Luke only just managing to keep up with her. She then befriends an Ewok (Wicket) which leads to the weird scene of Han Solo about to be barbecued at a dinner in honour of C3PO!

There is time for some more classic Han and Leia moments as they attempt to storm the reactor unit, including a brilliant bit where Leia is shot on the arm and they think they are about to meet their end via a Scout Walker only to find Chewie has commandeered it. Han's face when Leia tells him that Luke is her brother is priceless.

Memories came flooding back about all of the above and more when Leia, Han, Luke, Chewie and co returned to our screens in The Force Awakens last December. The interplay between Leia and Solo was as funny and as moving as ever, more so given the years that had passed.

Farewell my Princess, the force will be with you ......always.

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