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Carrie Fisher and Other Powerful Women in the Star Wars Industry

4 May 2019

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Today is the day that the world celebrates one of the most influential movie franchises: Star Wars. Beginning its movie debut on May 25th in 1977, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope hit the big screen with record breaking numbers, sending the cast, producers and directors straight to the spot light. As the years continued, as did the Star Wars Franchise, growing into a mega-media movie franchise, with millions of fans around the world. [2]

It is on this day that the fandom comes together to binge watch the movies back-to-back and remember the late actress Carrie Fisher, who played the beloved bad-ass Princess Leia.

 

Carrie Fisher (1956-2016) was well known for her role as Princes Leia in the Original Star Wars trilogy. She continued to stand as a hero to all women over the years, being a proud example of the resilient and fearless character that all women can nurture and become. Through her character Leia, she gave us someone who stood in the face of personal and galactic adversity. [3]

Outside of the green-screen, Fisher was also known for being an incredible script doctor [1], often reworking and rewriting dialogue in the original trilogy as well as assisting in the draft scripts for The Last Jedi before her passing.

 

Following in her footsteps, numerous other lead female roles were previewed in the Star Wars franchise, including Natalie Portman as Padmé Amidala, Daisy Ridley as Rey, Kellie Marie Tran as Rose Tico and Felicity Jones as Jyn Urso. [1] All of these women represent huge steps forward for women within the Sci-Fi genre.
Kellie Marie Tran was the first women of colour to land a leading role within the franchise and unfortunately received a terrifying level of racial backlash from the community in regards to her character, Rose. [1]

May the 4th should be a time to revel in the nostalgia of Star Wars, and to appreciate the diversity of all races, genders and species, both fictional and nonfictional, that drove the imagination of our childhoods.

Behind the scenes, there are many more powerful women who helped shape the world of Star Wars in such dramatic ways, despite the lack of appreciation often given. Kathleen Kennedy is noted to be the “single most important person in the development of the post 2012 Star Wars Films”. [1] Being a film producer and the president of Lucasfilm, she has continued to be a driving force for Star Wars as she was involved heavily in the hiring of actors, creative decisions within the final films, re-shoots for movies and changing directors as she saw fit.

Similar to Kennedy, Leigh Brackett is the only woman to be recognised as a writer for one of the Star War movies. She won a Hugo Award for her work in writing Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, despite passing from cancer before the script was finalised. [1]

Maria Lucas was another woman behind the scenes who won Academy Awards for her editing work on A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. [1]

Further honourable mentions consist of the dozens of women who contributed to illustrating and creating the Star Wars comic books, as well as the many who work on the animated television sagas.

These women have paved a way for generations to come, to inspire them with strong-willed heroines that could stare back into adversity and give it a run for its money. These women are icons and idols in a heavily male dominated field of work, and they truly gave us a terrific representation.
In a world that is progressing as far as we are in terms of space travel, we can always pay homage to the movies that inspire our love to explore and traverse across the stars, and maybe one day in the far future, we can reflect on our home and our stories. Beginning with…

“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. …”

May the force be with you.

 

Sources:
[1] https://screenrant.com/women-shaped-star-wars-franchise/
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars
[3] https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/carrie-fisher-dead-star-wars-hero-princess-leia-writer-script-doctor-a7498051.html

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