It is safe to assume almost everyone has heard of the “Star Wars” franchise and might even know the names of the main characters. However, until last summer, I had never seen a “Star Wars” movie, nor did I know the names of any characters, other than Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. What I had been missing out on most was the feisty and determined Star Wars icon, Princess Leia.
After I watched “Episode IV: A New Hope,” I was completely pulled into a world full of galaxies, strange creatures and dynamic characters. Princess Leia, played by the late Carrie Fisher, was not only famously known for her buns, but also for her love-hate relationship with Han Solo, portrayed by Harrison Ford.
Last year, Carrie Fisher released “The Princess Diarist,” the last of her seven novels before her death on December 27, 2016. This novel examined her time on set of one of the most loved theatrical sagas of all time.
Today, it’s hard for “Star Wars” lovers to imagine the movie without those buns on either side of Leia’s head. In her novel, Fisher recounts the day the famous hairstyle was born and how much she disliked it. When she got the role, she was given it on the condition that she would lose 10 pounds. Long story short, she did not lose the weight, so when director George Lucas asked her what she thought of the hairstyle, she replied, “I love it!” to avoid additional problems.
While the films portrayed Leia as a strong and independent woman, the actress’ novel revealed issues with body insecurity and her off-screen love affair with Harrison Ford. The news of her affair, as well as her struggles with body image, shocked the world, not only because Ford was significantly older, but also because he was married with two kids at the time of filming.
“He finished filming and had to go home to his wife and kids,” Fisher wrote. “That’s when Cinderella’s pre-shattered post-ball shoe was scheduled to drop.”
Her writing includes tales of what it was like to be infatuated with him despite his marital status, her inability to discuss her feelings and many excerpts from the diary she kept.
She talks about not being able to recall when the affair started because it was a whirlwind of emotions for a 19-year-old. Fisher writes about moments when she would distract herself in attempts to not let her true feelings slip out. Moments of silence where there was nothing to say because they could not talk about a future that did not exist.
“I’m sorry it’s not Mark—-it could’ve been,” Fisher wrote about her feelings for Ford over Mark Hamill. “It should’ve been. It might’ve meant something. Maybe not much, but certainly more.”
“If Harrison was unable to see that I had feelings for him (at least five, but sometimes as many as seven) then he wasn’t as smart as I thought he was – as I knew he was,” Fisher wrote. “So I loved him and he allowed it. That’s as close a reckoning as I can muster four decades later.”
The novel is incredibly honest and full of behind-the-scene moments about the “Star Wars” icon. If you’re a “Star Wars” nerd like I have become, then it is most definitely worth reading.
In memory of Carrie Fisher, 1956-2016.