Today is the birthday of the late, great, Carrie Fisher.
I could extoll the virtues of this all around badass, writer, icon, and mental health warrior. But I will let her speak for herself.
Happy Birthday, wherever you are.
When the first Star Wars movie, Episode 4: A New Hope premiered in 1977, there was just one prominent woman: Princess Leia (the late Carrie Fisher). Over the last 44 years, the Star Wars universe grew in ways that I guess was unexpected in the late 1970’s. That growth includes a group of female characters who are just as badass and important to the narrative as Leia was then and still is today.
In 2018, Amy Ratcliffe published Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy. This book tells the stories of a variety of female characters that are not always obvious to the fanbase. While some of the obvious names on the list other than Leia are Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman), it contains what can only be described as a conclusive inventory of women within that world.
Ratcliffe leaves no stone unturned when it came to the women who are profiled in the book. Sith, Jedi, human, non-human, etc, are all given the spotlight. The artwork is beautiful and worth framing by itself.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
The core of any legitimate democracy is the right to vote. On the surface, voting is a simple act. But if one were to dig a little deeper, they would see that voting is much more than simply casting your ballot on election day.
Today is the 100 anniversary of the 19th Amendment. In the span of history, 100 years is not a long time. But in the history of the fight for female equality in the United States and around the world, 100 years means the difference between being chattel and beating treated as a full human being.
The women of that generation saw voting as only the first step. They understood then, as we do now, that gaining the vote was only the first step in a long path ahead of them.
Given our breathtaking progress in the past century, there is a part of me that is bursting with pride. But another part of me knows that legislation cannot wash away centuries of sexism and double standards. That requires education and changing of hearts and minds.
Though there are many issues that must be dealt with (including the fact that women of color are still fighting for their rights), the fact that we have come as far as we have is nothing to sneeze at.
Ladies, we know that today is a celebration. But we also know that there much more work to be done. Today, we take a breath and a moment to enjoy the progress that has been made. But tomorrow, the work begins anew.
It has been said that what defines us is not how we fall, but how we rise after a fall.
The late Carrie Fisher rose many times in her 60 years. Today would have been her 63rd birthday.
What she went through might have stopped some people in their tracks. But she found the will to survive, the courage to look her demons in the eye and the sense of humor to publicly laugh about them.
She was more than the lone female for most of the Star Wars film series. She was a daughter, a mother, a sister, one hec of a writer, a bad ass and a mental health warrior. She was not afraid to speak her mind and speak for those who could not speak for themselves. Though many might be shamed into silence by their addiction and mental health issues, Carrie spoke openly and honestly about her demons. In doing so, she allowed others to do the same.
Wherever you are, Carrie, RIP and Happy Birthday. I can’t think of a better birthday present than the release of the final Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker trailer tonight.
When it comes to Star Wars, it’s easy to get sucked into the world. Especially the narratives and characters that are not covered in the films.
In 2016, Claudia Gray published Bloodline, filling in the timeline in between The Last Jedi and The Force Awakens.
It’s been decades since the old Empire was defeated. The dream of a true intergalactic democracy has dissolved into partisan infighting among the leaders of The New Republic. With decades of political experience under her belt, Leia Ogana has become a respected senator.
Leia hopes that peace and co-existence will return to the galaxy, but hope turns to dread, especially when forces within and without are threatening to destroy The New Republic. Will Leia’s hopes turn into reality or will her instincts and her family history return the galaxy into the war zone that it once was?
I really liked this book. I enjoyed it not only because it is well written, but it fits into the previously established timeline between the original trilogy and the newer movies. It’s nice to read a fanfiction that feels unique to the writer while not disregarding the original characters and narratives that the fans are loyal to.
I recommend it.
*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the new characters that were introduced to audiences for the episodes seven and eight in the Star Wars franchise. Read at your own risk if you have not seen The Force Awakens Or The Last Jedi.
There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.
In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Star Wars to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.
Life is often a series of choices. What we don’t know is the the repercussions that may come about from those choices. In The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) was introduced as the film’s baddie. Like Darth Vader before him, Kylo was determined with a capital D to destroy the rebellion at any cost, regardless of the ties to the heroes of the rebellion.
Kylo Ren’s birth name was Ben Solo. He is the son of Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford), the nephew of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and the grandson Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) and Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman). With his lineage and natural abilities when it comes the force, he could have followed his uncle Luke to become a Jedi. Instead he took the same path his grandfather took. Seduced by the dark side and Supreme Leader Snoke, Ben Solo becomes a think of the past. He is now Kylo Ren, master of the knights of Ren and supreme leader of The First Order.
In The Force Awakens, while Kylo is committed the destroying the rebellion, there is a part of him that still goes back to the light and the family he left behind. That is, until he kills his father. Even so, the questions about his loyalties still never quite disappear. His interactions with Rey (Daisy Ridley) bring those questions to the surface, especially he has the opportunity to kill his mother in The Last Jedi. But, he makes the split second decision not to.
In the end of The Last Jedi, after Rey has rejected Kylo’s offer to join The First Order, he frames her for the murder of Supreme Leader Snoke and goes after in the rebellion with everything he’s got. He has made the choice to completely give into the dark side.
To sum it up: Kylo Ren/ Ben Solo made the choice to forego any return to the light side and completely become one with the dark side of the force. In this process, he killed his father, nearly killed his mother and become a younger version of his grandfather. Characters make choices and like all of us, will have to live with those choices. Episode 9 starting filming this week. While we will have to wait until next year to see the repercussions of his choices, he made them and will have to deal with them.
In December of 2016, when movie fans across the world were grieving the loss of iconic mother/daughter duo of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, Todd Fisher, Debbie’s son and Carrie’s brother was grieving for his mother and sister.
Recently Todd released a memoir about his life with Carrie and Debbie, entitled My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie. Born to Debbie and her first husband, Eddie Fisher, Todd and Carrie was raised among the whose who of the golden age of cinema. While Debbie’s career and personal life had quite a few ups and downs (two more marriages that went bust and financial struggles), Carrie had her own issues. While she gained fame playing Leia Organa in the Star Wars film franchise and later became a respected writer, she also famously tussled with mental health and chemical dependency issues.
I loved this book. It has humor, it has heart and it feels very personal. In addition to Todd’s memories, the book also contains anecdotes from Carrie and Debbie, in addition to family photos that the public has not been previously been privy to.
I feel like this is his way of saying his final goodbye to his mother and sister, while remembering the good times. For fans of Carrie and Debbie, this book allows them to do the same.
I absolutely recommend it.
A good sequel, when properly written, is always a thrill. It’s a thing of curiosity, to see where the character’s lives have gone and will go since we last saw them. The late Carrie Fisher knew a lot about sequels, she played Leia Organa in the Star Wars movie franchise.
She was also one hec of a writer.
The Best Awful, Fisher’s sequel to her best-selling novel, Postcards From The Edge, takes place a few years after the events in Postcards From The Edge. Her fictional alter-ego, Suzanne Vale, is now the mother of a young daughter, Honey. Honey’s father has just left Suzanne for a man. Wanting and needing a replacement for her ex, Suzanne decides it’s a good time to stop taking her medication. The results and the adventure she goes while off her medication is well, an adventure to say the least.
When Suzanne finally hits rock bottom, her ex, her movie star mother and her friends decide that the best thing for Suzanne is to be put in a mental hospital. Going into the hospital maybe the very thing Suzanne needs to move on with her life.
Fisher’s bouts with mental illness are part and parcel of her persona. What I loved about this book is that not only is it funny, but it speaks to the truth of what it is to bipolar and live with the ups and downs that being bipolar brings.
I absolutely recommend it.
Warning: This movie review contain spoilers for The Last Jedi. I will not be offended if you choose to read this review until after you have seen the movie.
The Star Wars trilogy created the movie sequels as we know them to be today.
In The Last Jedi, the resistance, led by General Leia Organa (the late and very missed Carrie Fisher) is on the run from The First Order. Leia’s son, Kylo Ren/Ben Solo (Adam Driver) is hell-bent on destroying the resistance, as per the command of Snoke (Andy Serkis). Kylo’s second in command, General Hux (Domnhall Gleason) is as eager as his bosses to see the resistance blown to smithereens.
Meanwhile, Rey (Daisy Ridley) has found Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), but Luke is not happy to found. However, at the same time, he sees the power in Rey and knows that she must receive some sort of training. At the same time, Finn (John Boyega) has woken from his coma and is teaming up with previously unknown Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) to find a way to defeat The First Order. Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) is all for the plan, but he has been rebuked for his wild ways by Leia and Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) for his wild ways.
Director Rian Johnson has hit it out of the park with this film. A throwback to The Empire Strikes Back, Johnson is a fanboy who has used his love of the franchise to create a remarkable film.
While all of the cast were at peak performance mode, my favorite performances belonged to Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Adam Driver. Luke, who was only seen briefly and without any dialogue at the end of The Force Awakens, is a man who is torn apart by his past and the decisions he made. His twin, Leia is watching the resistance fall apart and is trying to lead the remnants as best she can. Kylo is unsure as to the path he has taken. While he has sworn loyalty to Snoke, there is still a part of him that clings to the light side of the force and the family he left behind when he flipped to the dark side.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
The Last Jedi is presently in theaters.
Writing fan fiction, as easy as it appears to be, can be tenuous. The writer must balance the story they wish to write with the already established narrative and characters that readers are looking for.
Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Leia, Princess of Alderaan, by Claudia Gray, takes place three years before A New Hope. Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan is 16. Before she can be officially named as heir to the throne, she must complete a series of tasks that are designed to test her. While she is going about accomplishing these tasks, the Empire is tightening the noose on the universe and Leia is slowly being drawn into the rebellion that she will one day lead.
Warning! The video below has spoilers about the book.
I truly enjoyed this book. Ms. Gray creates a new narrative for Leia while building in the facts (and some well placed Easter eggs) that fans are familiar with. Above all, what strikes me is that despite her status and what she is experiencing, Leia is still a teenage girl who is going through the same growing pains that we all go through at that age.
I recommend it.
Movies...with a little bit of obscure culture and sports mixed in
Bite Size Movie reviews from Wanaka, New Zealand
The Works and Research of a Future Writer in the Making
A place for loud minds.....
Arts reviews, commentary, and stories from a musical engineer's perspective
The North Carolina National Organization for Women has been working for social, economic and political equality for women and others since 1966. Join us!
Sure Could Go For Some Wings...
Promoting civic engagement and public service among youth
Fans of Miss Scarlet & The Duke
Notes from Rabbi Rachel
“Equality of Rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”
Coverage of Social Justice Movements
The Next Generation of Civil Discourse
Award-winning historical murder mysteries inspired by classic 19th-century novels
live mines and duds: the reading life
Your national hub for film reviews & interviews