*A New Hope will be referred to as ANH and Empire Strikes Back will be referred to as ESB.
Logically speaking, we know that a film (unless it is a documentary) is a work of fiction. It is the cumulative work of many who come together to create a final product that seems real. But a good film has a way of touching the audience in a way that lasts well beyond the final credits.
Thursday was the 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back. The second of three films in the first Star Wars trilogy, it is widely ranked as one of the best films in the overall series. While it’s predecessor, A New Hope, is the simple story of how a farm boy, a princess and a pirate destroy an evil empire, ESB takes that basic concept and expands it tenfold.
From a writing perspective, ESB is everything one would want in a sequel. The characters have grown and are facing new challenges. The world that the story takes place in is wider. The stakes are higher as the Empire has rebounded and is eager to take back the ground that they lost in ANH.
From a fan perspective, there are two major narratives that will forever hold a place in my heart. I love the will they or won’t they between Han (Harrison Ford) and Leia (the late Carrie Fisher). The tension between them is absolutely perfect. I think that it goes without saying that the exchange between Han and Leia just before he is frozen in Carbonite is simple, sexy and utterly romantic.
And then, there is the most jaw dropping revelation in film history. To this day, new fans watch this scene and their minds are still blown that Luke Skywalker’s (Mark Hamill) father is no other than Darth Vader.
Here is to the 40th anniversary of the Empire Strikes Back. May this film live on for another 40 years and beyond.
Two years ago today, we lost one of the brightest lights in our world: actress, writer and mental health advocate Carrie Fisher.
A day later, her mother, legendary actress Debbie Reynolds also departed this world.
Both women dealt with troubles that would have sent lesser women into a state of lifelong emotional turmoil. But both came out of their troubles stronger, wiser and funnier.
Carrie is best remembered for playing Leia Organa in the Star Wars films, though she had a long and varied career. She was also a writer and openly spoke of her issues with drugs and mental illness, encouraging others to do the same. For speaking openly about her battles with mental illness alone, she will always be one of my personal heroes.
Debbie Reynolds burst onto the screen and into our public consciousness in the 1952 film, Singin’ in the Rain.
There are some people in this world, who when they die, leave a cultural mark that will forever be with us. Both Debbie and Carrie left those marks that will be with us long after this generation has moved onto the next world.
Writer, actress, mental health activist, mother, daughter, sister, feminist, Fisher was an icon to many for many reasons. Playing Leia Organa in the Star Wars film franchise, Fisher helped to change the way women are portrayed in film, especially in science fiction and fantasy films. Leia was not just the heart and the brains of the rebellion, she was whip smart and in charge.
Leia grabbing the blaster from Luke’s hands and shooting at the storm troopers was a small moment in A New Hope, but a big moment in the history of women on-screen.
After Star Wars and in between her other roles, Fisher became one hell of a writer, publishing her own work in addition to gaining the envious title of one of the most in demand script doctors in Hollywood. She was not afraid to speak openly about her addiction and mental illness issues when others were still in the closet about their addiction and mental illness issues.
The thing that will always stand out for me, is that she was herself, warts and all. Unapologetic, unafraid and upfront. We should all be so brave to be ourselves and not give a sh*t what someone else thinks of us.
Yesterday would have been the 61st birthday of actress, writer and mental health advocate Carrie Fisher.
Originally known to audiences as Princess Leia Organa from the Star Wars films, she was the daughter of the late singer Eddie Fisher and his first wife, actor/singer, the late Debbie Reynolds.
I could write about what her legacy is to the millions of Star Wars fans around the world and to the millions who are suffering from mental illness, but that’s been done. I want to remember as a woman who was not afraid to call out the bullshit, especially in Hollywood. Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke two weeks ago, the floodgates of women who were sexually assaulted, not just by Weinstein, but other men in Hollywood have come forward. One of these men assaulted a friend of hers and Carrie responded as only she could.
In honor of Carrie, I give you Star Wars Rap Battle: Han Solo vs Princess Leia.
Happy Birthday, Carrie. You are gone, but never forgotten.