There’s no denying the impact Carrie Fisher had on the Star Wars franchise. The late actor’s untimely death has left a void in the galaxy far, far away, and a character as important as Leia Organa is unlikely to ever be replaced.
The director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi recently spoke about her impact not just on the saga of movies, but on his own process as a filmmaker. Rian Johnson referred to Fisher as “one of my heroes” in a conversation with Yahoo!
“She was so conscious of the place that Leia had, not just broadly in the culture, but very specifically in terms of girls who grew up watching Star Wars when Leia was the only female hero on the screen,” said Johnson. “She really wanted to do right by that, drawing the character forward. That was something that she would always be pulling us back to.”
Johnson has previously spoken about how much he appreciated having Fisher involved with the production not only as an actor, but as a writer. He said he would make frequent visits to her home where the two would hash out story beats relating to the upcoming Star Wars movie.
“And for me it was fantastic, because besides all the other benefits of having a fantastic writer like Carrie there by my side while we’re making this movie, just having a voice that was like a compass needle that would always pull it back in the right direction of ‘this is what this character means and this is what we always have to make sure that she’s serving, with her strength and also with her weaknesses’ — showing a fully realized character who is going to be inspiring to the folks who grew up with Leia.”
Fisher’s portrayal of Leia stands alongside Luke Skywalker and Han Solo as three of the most important characters in the history of the franchise. Seeing her back on screen later this year will be a bittersweet moment for most fans, as we’ll get to see the actor as we’ve come to know and love her, but for the last time.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi premieres in theaters on December 15.