Star Wars is a franchise that has one of the strongest fanbases ever. On December 15th, the eighth installment in the trilogy, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” will be premiering in theaters everywhere. One interesting characteristic of this film will be the last appearance of the beloved Princess Leia, portrayed by the late Carrie Fisher.
On December 23rd, 2016, Fisher was on a commercial flight from London to Los Angeles when she suffered from a medical emergent 15 minutes before the plane landed. The passenger next to her reported she stopped breathing and another passenger performed CPR before the paramedics arrived. From there, Fisher was transported by ambulance to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Four days later, Fisher passed away due to cardiac arrest. Unfortunately, the day after Fisher’s death, Fisher’s mother, Debbie Reynolds, suffered from a stroke in her son Todd’s home and died later that afternoon in a hospital. According to Todd Fisher, she said “I really want to be with Carrie” before suffering from the stroke.
Carrie Fisher had her big break when she appeared in 1977’s “Star Wars: A New Hope” as Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan. From there on, Fisher captivated audiences in the next installments of the series. The fact that Fisher’s last picture will be a Star Wars’ film shows that sometimes things do come full circle. “The Last Jedi” will help audiences get closure from Fisher’s passing and the opportunity to see her on the big screen on last time.
Fisher finished filming “The Last Jedi” at the time of her death, and director Rian Johnson describes it as a “beautiful and complete performance.”
Fisher’s last performance may give “The Last Jedi” a bump in ticket sales. Jeff Bock, senior box-office analyst for Exhibitor Relations, predicts that her last appearance will catapult The Last Jedi to an opening weekend of $215 million to $220 million.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” performed well in box offices gathering $248 million just on opening weekend. The picture had Fisher, Ford’s and Hamill’s originating roles, as well as new faces like Daisy Ridley’s Rey and John Boyega’s Finn.
“I don’t know how you recreate that Force Awakens moment,” says Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. “It was special, unrepeatable and historic for cinema.”
In 2012, Disney bought LucasFilm and “The Force Awakens” was the first movie after the new ownership. In 2016, Disney had box office success with the Star Wars’ stand-alone movie, “Rouge One: A Star Wars Story” with making over $150 million its opening weekend as well. Rogue One was second film ever to make more than $100 million in a December opening weekend with the first being The Force Awakens.
Director Rian Johnson said that Leia’s story hasn’t been tampered with since her passing. “We didn’t end up changing a thing. Luckily, we had a totally complete performance from her. You got to experience a little bit of that magical sphere that she created. I’m happy I got to poke my head into that, briefly, and know her even a little bit.”
It is unfortunate we will never get another Princess Leia arc after this upcoming Star Wars film. However, it is comforting to know that since Fisher’s passing, Leia’s story will remain how it was originally going to be played out. Fans will get to see Carrie Fisher in theaters one last time on December 15th in theaters everywhere.