Star Wars: Billie Lourd Pens Touching Essay About Leia Organa Feeling Like a Real Family Member

Carrie Fisher and Leia Organa are intrinsically linked, so much so that even Fisher's daughter Bille Lourd recently opened up for TIME about how the fictional character was such an integral part of her life that Leia feels like an actual member of her family. The actress shared the touching tribute, detailing how she had put off watching the Star Wars films as a youth but, when she finally watched the movies, she discovered, "No one is, or ever will be, as hot or as cool as Princess F-cking Leia." That reluctance to embrace the galaxy far, far away ultimately changed drastically, as Lourd herself went on to star in all three entries in the sequel trilogy.

"I realized then that Leia is more than just a character," the actress shared. "She’s a feeling. She is strength. She is grace. She is wit. She is femininity at its finest. She knows what she wants, and she gets it. She doesn’t need anyone to defend her, because she defends herself. And no one could have played her like my mother. Princess Leia is Carrie Fisher. Carrie Fisher is Princess Leia. The two go hand in hand."

Lourd's role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens was one of her first acting opportunities, inspiring a passion for acting that she continues to pursue. The actress will be reprising her role of Lieutenant Connix in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which she described as a "magical" filming experience.

“I gotta watch myself because the Star Wars PD is going to come get me, but it is incredible. I’ve read the script and I’ve been on set," Lourd shared with Entertainment Tonight last year. "I was on set for, like, three weeks back in September, and it is going to be magical. I can’t say much more, but I’m so excited about it and so grateful to be a part of it. Star Wars is my heart. I love it.”

To say that Lourd's experience with Star Wars has changed since joining the saga herself would be an understatement, as it has opened up her world in all-new ways and fundamentally altered her perspective.

"I grew up with three parents: a mom, a dad, and Princess Leia," the actress wrote. "Initially, Princess Leia was kind of like my stepmom. Now she’s my guardian angel. And I’m her keeper."

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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker lands in theaters on December 20th.

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