April Barbe

On Monday night, I watched “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”

On Tuesday, as I prepared to write this column about the film, I heard of the passing of actress Carrie Fisher. Or as so many knew her, “Princess Leia.”

Fisher died Dec. 27 after suffering a massive heart attack. She was 60.

As the news spread, “Star Wars” fans immediately went into mourning for the loss of the screen legend. Fisher gained worldwide stardom after her role as “Princess Leia” with her unique earmuff-style hair buns and revealing costume in 1977's “Star Wars.”

Starring opposite Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford, Fisher brought the princess to life as “Luke Skywalker” joined forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a wookie and two droids to save the galaxy and attempt to rescue “Princess Leia” from the evil Darth Vader.

The film was released on May 25, 1977, and made $35,906,661 during its opening weekend.

Three years, later in 1980, the saga returned with “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back" and again in 1983 with “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” as “Princess Leia” continued to thrill fans.

Fisher continued to have roles in various film and TV shows, but her iconic “Star Wars” roll would follow her the rest of her career.

In 2015, fans were given a special treat as “Princess Leia” returned in the new “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Three decades after the original series, fans rejoiced as their favorite characters graced the big screen again.

In the film, the First Order attempts to rule the galaxy, and only a “ragtag” group of heroes can stop them, along with the Resistance. Fisher was in full-form as the regal “Princess Leia” in her older years in the film.

I remember feeling so excited to see Fisher and Ford together in the film. It was like a glimpse of a greater time.

In “Rogue One,” Norwegian actress Ingvild Deila portrays a young “Princess Leia.” The film holds true to its predecessors with a storyline that drops viewers into the middle of the series as the Rebel Alliance makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star.

The film sets up the saga perfectly for more “Star Wars” goodness. In fact, the next film “Star Wars: Episode VIII” has already been filmed and is in post production.

It stars Fisher in her iconic role. So, on Dec. 15, 2017, fans will get one more chance to see “Princess Leia” on the big screen! I'm going to go ahead and project a record-breaking weekend for that film.

The story for the film focuses on “Rey” as she continues her journey with “Finn,” “Poe” and “Luke Skywalker.”

On Fisher's www.imdb.com page, Fisher's favorite “Star Wars” moments were her scenes where she was arguing with Ford's character – although she reportedly had to stand on a box for many of her scenes with Ford because she was nearly a foot shorter than him.

She was the voice of “Princess Leia” for “Lego Star Wars: ­­The Force Awakens” video game, as well as for “Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II.”

Fisher even made a cameo in popular sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” in 2014.

While, “Princess Leia” is now one with the Force, her legacy will remain. Each time we go on an adventure into a galaxy far, far away, we will remember her.

We should also remember these wise words from “Yoda”:

“Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not.”

April Barbe is the editor of the Progress; however, she is also a part-time screenwriter. She has written and directed three short films and served as a casting director. April has also worked as a production assistant, co-producer and publicist on feature films in Texas.

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