The year 2016 has claimed more than its fair share of victims, as the internet will gladly tell you without you needing to look too hard.
The most recent of these, Carrie Fisher, best known for playing Leia Organa in Star Wars, has hit harder than most.
From the first release of A New Hope in 1977 to the return of the franchise with The Force Awakens in 2015, we’ve seen Leia grown from an already awesome, ass-kicking princess to an even more awesome leader of the Rebellion.
One of the best parts about The Force Awakens was its’ treatment of Leia as a character. She is no longer ‘Princess Leia’, but now ‘General Organa’ – and no one in the galaxy is better qualified for the job.
When you consider that the title of General was basically included in a welcome basket with soap and cheeses in Return of the Jedi – given to a smuggler in Han Solo and a card shark in Lando Calrissian just a short time after they joined the fold – it’s remarkable that it takes so long for Leia to get the nod.
The role she plays in The Force Awakens is indicative of exactly why she should have gotten it long before any other did.
Although we’re still waiting for the plot details between the sixth and seventh episodes to be fleshed out, it’s pretty clear that, in the time between the two, things have hit the proverbial fan.
The Rebels have gone from victorious over the Empire to being on the back foot once again, and Han and Leia’s son has fallen to the dark side.
Luke, his teacher, and Han, his father, both bugger off immediately – Luke is on some distant planet hanging out at the top of far too many stairs, and Han is back to smuggling and generally being scruffy-looking. A lot of help they are.
Newsflash guys, but a situation like this is not the ideal time to take a personal journey of self-discovery. Luke, Han and Leia are the new republic’s three greatest heroes – in its darkest hour, only one of them has the guts to stick around.
It’s not the only time Leia shows incredible mental fortitude. Another memorable moment comes after escaping the Death Star in A New Hope, when Luke is mourning the loss of his mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Leia, who just lost literally everyone on her home planet, resists the urge to give him a slap across the face and instead consoles and comforts him. I would’ve gone the slap, personally.
Leia might never get a lightsabre like Luke, or fly around in maverick style like Han and Chewie. But while they provided some of the more thrilling heroics, she is the glue that holds their trio, and indeed the entire Rebel Alliance, together.
What’s a galaxy to do without its greatest, most underrated hero? Sadly, that’s a question we’re soon going to have to find out the answer to. Rest in peace, Carrie Fisher. Rest in peace, General Leia Organa.