Carrie Fisher's 5 Greatest 'Star Wars' Moments

Posted 2016-12-28 318 0

 5. Au Revoir, Alderaan ('A New Hope')

Fisher turned Leia into the franchise's resident tough cookie – but the actress knew how to reveal Leia's more vulnerable side as well. Brought to the Death Star's bridge for an audience with its commander Grand Moff Tarkin, she insults one of the galaxy's most powerful people ("I recognized your foul stench when I was brought on board") without breaking either a sweat or her aristocratic Middle Atlantic accent. But when the Imperial bigwig announces his plan to blow up her home planet, the unfeeling facade disappears like a disabled deflector shield. "No," she stammers, "Alderaan is peaceful, we have no weapons, you couldn't possibly – !" She may be a monarch-turned-insurrectionist, but in that moment she sounds like anyone stuck in the terrified bargaining stage of a personal disaster in the making. The negotiation, shall we say, does not end well.


4. Bad News ('The Force Awakens')

Some viewers of The Force Awakens have made the argument that General Leia's reaction to Han Solo's death was a dropped ball. Why, they ask, did she bypass her old friend Chewbacca and instead comfort Rey, a young woman who was just a stranger to her? Explanations abound, both in-world and meta, but if this is a mistake, it's a beautiful one. Older, wiser and full of faith in both the Force and the eventual triumph of the human(oid) spirit, the General is everything Rey – or anybody – could aspire to be. In putting aside her own grief to embrace a young woman in need of comfort, Fisher's Leia displays the empathy we all wish our elders would show us when we need it most.


3. "I love you ..." "I know" ('The Empire Strikes Back'/'Return of the Jedi')

The first time we hear Han and Leia have this exchange, she's wearing her heart on her sleeve and he's playing it carbonite-freeze cool. One of the most famous improvised lines in the history of film, the smuggler's response to the Princess's declaration, right before he's placed in suspended animation by Darth Vader, gives Empire a romantic cliffhanger to match all its plot-driven ones. But per usual, Leia gets the last word. Surrounded by elite Imperial soldiers during a critical mission following their reunion in Return of the Jedi, Leia calmly and quietly reaches for the blaster that will save them from capture. "I love you," Han says, his voice filled with what sounds an awful lot like awe. "I know," Leia replies – and you suspect that smile comes from knowing she beat her boyfriend at his own one-liner game.

2. To the Rescue ('A New Hope')

"Into the garbage chute, flyboy!" If Han, Luke, and Chewie thought they'd find a damsel in distress upon breaking the princess out of the Death Star's prison, they had another think coming. Displaying the same quick thinking and insult-comedy chops that helped her see through Luke's disguise ("Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?"), Leia takes charge, blasting their way to freedom via one of the space station's garbage chutes. To be fair, they have a few problems down there. But after that close call, she's elbowing Solo out of the leadership position and busting the balls of a Wookiee ("Will someone get this big walking carpet out of my way?"). The lady has no time for amateur hour, and neither does Fisher, who commands the screen like an actor far older than her mere 19 years at the time. And she's doing it all in an immaculate white dress with cinnamon rolls for hair. A star (warrior) is born.

1. "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi – you're my only hope" ('A New Hope')

It's just a tiny blue image projected from R2-D2 in Luke Skywalker's garage, repeating that mysterious phrase over and over. But this was more than just the message that set the plot of the original Star Wars trilogy in motion; this was a sort of magical incantation, one that promised desperation and heroism, saviors with strange names and stakes as big as that whole far-away galaxy. The full version of the holographic communication later unearthed by Luke and Obi-Wan revealed not only the backstory but Fisher's talent as an actor: She sold every bit of George Lucas's jargon-heavy, sketched-out worldbuilding like she was delivering a Shakespeare soliloquy. (The mileage the saga got out of the matter-of-fact, unexplained way she mentioned "the Clone Wars" alone is incalculable.) Many a lifelong love affair with Star Wars, sci-fi, fantasy fiction, and film itself began with these eight words. It all starts here.