Carrie Fisher Goes From Princess to General For Episode VII

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In its campaign of Star Wars: The Force Awakens interviews and scoops, EW released a piece discussing Carrie Fisher’s role as Leia in Episode VII, and how Leia is no longer referred to as a princess anymore… well, except by maybe one person.

"“She’s referred to as General,” says director and co-writer J.J. Abrams. “But … there’s a moment in the movie where a character sort of slips and calls her ‘Princess.’”"

I think we can easily imagine just who “slips.” Speaking of Han Solo, the dynamic between Fisher and Ford off the set is hilarious (and a little sad) when Fisher describes it. Apparently, it’s not as warm as the hugging scene in the full trailer would have you believe.

"“I think we’re pretty sick of each other by now, so we pretend to be interested in each other between takes,” Fisher jokes. “And we fail. I’m mostly interested in how [Ford] stays in such good shape. I can talk to him about that for a long time.”"

Abrams also weighed in on the reunion, saying, “…it felt historic to have her, especially with Harrison, back in scenes together. I can only imagine the baggage that they bring to it, I’m just a fan who loves this stuff, but they’ve been living with it — and living in it — since ’77.”

One of the things that makes Fisher’s comeback particularly interesting is, while Ford and Mark Hamill have continued their acting careers (Ford in blockbuster films, Hamill primarily doing voice work), Carrie hasn’t done any acting in many years. J.J. Abrams was well aware of the disparity.

"One thing that initially gave him pause was, not only had Fisher not played Leia, but she hadn’t acted, period, for years. “She’d been writing more than she had been acting,” Abrams says. “So I think that for her, it was a bigger adjustment, which she made beautifully.”"

The Force Awakens takes place thirty years after the events of Return of the Jedi, and it’s clear that a lot of stuff has happened in that immense span of time, especially with regard to Leia’s character. Abrams himself said, “The stakes are pretty high in the story for her, so there’s not much goofing around where Leia’s concerned.”

via slashfilm.com. Screenshot from SDCC Behind the Scenes video.

More from Dork Side of the Force

When asked how she portrays Leia dealing with all of that, Fisher said,

"“Not easily,” … describing Leia as, “solitary. Under a lot of pressure. Committed as ever to her cause, but I would imagine feeling somewhat defeated, tired, and pissed.”"

The change from the confident Princess of the original trilogy to the war-weary General of Episode VII won’t be without impact among fans, but it’s an important change for a crucial reason. This reason comes from Carrie, who hinted that the fans who grew up with Princess Leia as the only female heroine in Star Wars still have something to learn from General Leia.

"What does the actress hope that the original generation of fans, now grown up, may take away from this version of Leia?Fisher[‘s] response is simple and without sarcasm: “Never give up.”"

I think when Carrie Fisher is serious, we should listen to her. Leia’s position in Star Wars as one of the Big Three is unique in that she (or rather, Carrie) basically grew up as the fans of the original trilogy were growing up. Now, Carrie has to blend the spirit of her character with experience, with a history. I can’t wait to see how she pulls it off.