Carrie Fisher Memorial Tribute

Leia Jedi Knight

art by Terese Nielsen for Star Wars Miniatures, Jedi Academy

Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia has inspired my imagination. It set fire to possibilities both on the movie screen and in games, books and comics. It was her acting and likeness that set fire to our hearts to imagine all the possibilities.

When I first ‘met’ the character of Leia, she wasn’t my favorite. She was always so angry and I was too young to really get WHY. But by Return of the Jedi I began to appreciate her. Now she was Luke’s sister, the Princess who could take time out from the big picture (the Rebellion) and rescue Han, admit she had feelings for him. She could be chained and turn her imprisonment on her captor and stop him from hurting anyone else ever again. She had Force potential the same as her brother. Suddenly Leia was awesome! And now I can see that the world needed Leia. She was a rare kind of hero for her time, something now everyone is pushing saying they need. I don’t quite get why, not that I don’t see why we need cool female heroes. What I don’t get is why they act like we didn’t have any. We had Leia. We also had Uhura and Wonder Woman but Leia was the one I knew best. We needed more Leia merchandise perhaps: the male characters always seemed to get the best stuff. But female heroes? I had Leia. Then she was joined by daughter Jaina and finally her movie mother Padme. And I could always see the connections.

With the prequels she developed a new kind of resonance. Now I see Leia and I see the parts of her that came from Padme, and the parts that came from Anakin. The same determination that drove her Mother, the anger (not unjustified) that she got from her father. And in the Expanded Universe Jaina inherited her Force sensitivity, courage and sheer determination.

In the Expanded Universe stories I watched her struggle with the identity of her biological father. Mother of three, President of the New Republic, and finally, Jedi knight. And always it was Carrie Fisher’s face I saw as this Leia, just as with the movie Leia. It was her acting that gave my vivid imagination the framework to work with to see her as the Chief of State, the warrior and the Jedi Knight. A real do it all female hero, who struggled with family vs career in a very real way. After all, when if you don’t save the galaxy where will your family live? And she was doing this female hero thing when it wasn’t yet popular or cool. She was the damsel who may be distressed but wasn’t going to take it without a fight.

She’ll always be Jedi Leia in my mind. And now she is one with the Force in this world. As Cliegg said of Shmi Skywalker (Leia’s grandmother) in Attack of the Clones:

“I know wherever you are, it’s become a better place.”

I hope so. Because I think this world is poorer without her.

But then you get that final blow: her mother Debbie Reynolds dying within days. I feel so much for their family.

When pondering this sadness, the most common thing I hear is, Debby Reynolds died of a broken heart. I can’t help note a certain … well, resonance. In the movies Carrie Fisher’s Leia’s ‘fictional’ mom Padme did too. One reason I get so upset over people dismissing Padme as a strong female is that they give call her weak for having ‘died of a broken heart’. In real life, people do, in fact, die of broken hearts. Even healthy people, though frail ones obviously have it worse. To downplay this is a terrible thing. Whether the fictional Padme died ‘merely’ of a broken heart or some evil plot of Palpatine’s, downplaying that trauma can destroy people is much easier for people who have not lived through one, and it does not only claim the weak, the old, or the infirm.

Here is scientific evidence:

Another thing I’ve heard, albeit rarely, is that Carrie Fisher didn’t exactly live the life of a saint. I thought this rather sad thing to say. After all, the fact that she survived challenges, overcame them and advocated for things she believed made her a brave person in real life. Saint? Who is? She is a real life example of an imperfect person doing her best to hang on in this crazy world.

I can’t help but note too that she is an example of something we are losing: the ability to argue like civilized beings and still call the people we argue with ‘friends’. Imagine that. You can argue without unfriending! That appears to be a in danger of becoming a lost art!

Here’s an example:
“He asked me to do an episode and that was really, really annoying, but it was very, very funny. Screaming at each other. Arguing big time about love scenes. We couldn’t disagree more, in any world, about love scenes. I mean hours of it, hours of ‘Why wouldn’t you say that? I talk like that.’, he said to me. I don’t believe it! And if he does [talk like that], they let him get away with it because he’s Lucas.” … “He won. He let me win in the draft, then he went off and shot it and he changed it. I went crazy! I didn’t want the shimmering arm, hair in the moonlight stuff. ‘You look so lovely. You are the magical rose of my…’ It’s in!” ~ 1994 Star Wars Insider interview regarding writing an episode of the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.

Yet clearly, she still thought of him as a friend with her good natured joking about the merchandising of her likeness.

I’ve seen terrible and wonderful things come of her death. The wonderful was the tribute paid by so many on the Old Republic: impromptu, unexpected. More or less polite, with even the Imperials coming in to the Organa Castle on Alderaan, albeit thousands of years before Leia’s time. So many people, on so many servers, so many ‘instances’ so they didn’t pile on top of each other (what’s the occupancy limit on the hall of Organa Castle anyway?!) starting early the day she died, to the massive packed memorial service and today people still filtering into the hall just to be there. It struck me that many were saying in the memorial (in the chat) that we wouldn’t be playing this game without Carrie Fisher. I’m not sure how many realize how true this is, not only for her screen acting but because her Jedi Training in the comics led to her discovering the holocron, which led to opening the entire era of Tales of the Jedi upon which Star Wars The Old Republic was founded rests upon.

It was written up in many articles like this one on PC Gamer. The guild I am part of was at the Ebon Hawk event. This playlist shows just a few of the many already posted on Youtube.

Star Wars Galaxies fans also had a memorial tribute, even though the ‘official’ game servers are offline. Fans have set up their own servers to keep the game alive. See their tribute pictures on their Facebook page.

Terrible is those who take advantage: copyright hounds who issue take down notices of the memorial videos! How low is that? Why do these apparently heartless creatures get to stay among us when our heroes are gone? Probably they are ‘bots’ set to automatically detect and challenge stuff that have no clue its in game. But then, that system has already been hit with lawsuits and they lost so you’d think they’d fix it. And then there are the scalpers suddenly buying up all things Leia and demanding ridiculous prices of grieving fans, as I found out when I went back looking to buy the Leia 6″ figure I was had been waiting on Christmas money to get.

As usual with tragedy, terrible and wonderful mix. But its just so much, so horrible much for the fans and if its like that for us, how much worse for those who knew and loved her personally? My heart goes out to them, and so do my prayers. One thing is for sure, for all the difference is in the Star Wars community between who prefers which storyline, it was wonderful to see everyone, EU and Disney canon, Sith and Jedi come together to grieve her death and celebrate her life.

Prequels and Continuity

The prequels introduced to the movie screen things that were, until now, only in print. Things that some viewers complain about were actually explained in print, in some cases, long before the movies.

From Print to Movie

The world of Coruscant was glimpsed in Return of the Jedi’s Special Edition. But until The Phantom Menace, only expanded universe fans knew it was named Coruscant, capital of the Republic and Empire. The name came from Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy.

Aayla Secura, the blue skinned twilek in the background of Attack of the Clones, was originally created in Dark Horse Comic, Republic series. We’d seen hints of her life all the way back to childhood.

Obi-Wan and Anakin’s adventure at Cato Nemoidia was actually told in Labyrinth of Evil before the reference made by Obi-Wan in Revenge of the Sith.

Quinlan Vos, mentioned in Revenge of the Sith was also created in Dark Horse comics, Republic series. He was based on a background character seen in Mos Espa in The Phantom Menace. His career as a Jedi was a regular feature in the series. He was considered for a physical role and concept art bears that out.

Buzz Droids were first mentioned in the short story Murder in Slush Time by Barbara Hambly, in the Star Wars Adventure Journal of West End Games. They appear in Revenge of the Sith.

Wheelbikes, such as General Grievous used, first appeared in the animated Droids cartoons.

Solar Sailer Ships, Such as Count Dooku’s are first scene in the Tales of the Jedi Comics, as well as Firestorm and Junior Jedi Knights. In the latter stories a ship with solar sails was piloted by Jedi historian Tionne.

Double Bladed Lightsaber, such as used by Darth Maul, first appeared in Tales of the Jedi comics and was used by Exar Kun.


Leia and her Mother

Leia remembering her Mother in Return of the Jedi is a much complained about detail about the prequels. However, the Revenge of the Sith novelization says the infant was looking at Padme and Luke also seems to unknowingly remember her on the subject of Anakin with the line “There is still good in him.”
The version of Leia remembering her Mother, hiding and running was taken from an early version of the Return of the Jedi script, and removed from the movie as Lucas didn’t want to tie himself down in the future. At the time, there was no expanded universe, hence no conflict.

Rebel Je’daii observation:

It is also mentioned in various stories that Force sensitivity can be used (knowingly or not) to enhance memories. For instance:

In the Thrawn trilogy, Luke sees a vision of a possible past.

In Children of the Jedi, also published before the movies, he mentions ‘finding’ something with the Force as a child and upsetting his Uncle. It’s well established even before the prequels that a Force Sensitive may have unusual recall and use the Force, unknowingly, even as children.

In Jedi Apprentice, The Hidden Truth, Obi-Wan remembers his brother, Owen, who he would have last seen when he himself was only an infant.

Therefore it’s not a stretch to consider that the Force sensitive Leia remembered her mother through ‘visions’ of the Force. She also knew she was adopted, suggesting she discussed it with her adoptive family and had it confirmed that these were ‘memories’ of her mother.

Finally, Padme was bound body and blood to the offspring of the most powerful Jedi of his age. This may have enhanced her own Force sensitivity. This is conjecture based partly on how she knew to look at the Temple right when Anakin was looking from their to her. Also, it’s been proven possible in other ways. See Yoda, Dark Rendezvous and Jedi Knight, Jedi Outcast for cases where this was done.


Republic History

In Attack of the Clones, Palpatine claims the Republic had stood for 1000 years. This initially seems to clash with Obi-Wan’s statement in A New Hope: “For over a thousand generations, the Jedi were the guardians of peace and justice of the Old Republic.”  According to the dictionary, a generation is about 30 years, making the Republic at the minimum 3000 years old.

In fact though, 1000 years ago was the time of a massive reorganization of the Republic. It was known as the Ruusan Reformations. Ruusan was the place of the last battle between Jedi and Sith, when the Sith (they thought) were defeated. The reorganization put the Jedi in the government structure as a loose branch of the Judicial department. Hence this was a ‘newer’ Republic Palpatine referred too.

The story is told in the Darth Bane stories, and Jedi VS Sith mini series by Dark Horse comics.

Uncle Owen

Owen’s confusion comes from the novelization of Return of the Jedi, a piece cut (fortunately) from the final movie script. In it, Kenobi’s spirit claims Owen was actually his brother. Cleverly, the writers hedged their bets on this. In Jedi Apprentice it reveals Obi-Wan really did have a brother named Owen, barely remembered. It does not name any details on him. The short story ‘Lone Wolf’ also has Obi-Wan noting the realization that he remembered a brother named Owen, and he was now searching for Owen Lars, step brother of a man he thought of like a brother.


Clever Repairs, Tweaks and Corrections After the Fact

The biggest glitch caused by the prequels was to the timeline. It had long been considered that the clone wars occurred around 30 or 40 years before A New Hope. While no one had written directly about that time, even a mention of events or of a parent or grandparent for a character could be thrown off.

This includes:

Leia and the Empire’s deception to the Noghri. discovering Honoghrs Clone Wars catastrophe…the sourcebook suggests she accidentally used the planets own rotational period for the count.

Halcyons and Horns. Corran Horn’s father’s age is thrown off, as he was considered about 10 in the clone wars. Also Nejaa Halcyon, his grandfather was said to be killed right after. Nejaa’s explanation was that for some worlds, the war already had moved on.

Spaarti cylinders and Unstable Clones.  Naturally, when the Thrawn trilogy was writing it was assumed the Clones were the ‘bad guys’ against the Jedi. However it was revealed in the Republic Commando stories that there really were clones grown by people other than the Kaminoans, and the results weren’t always emotionally stable. This was to hide the extra clones from the Jedi Generals. Also Dark Horse Comics revealed that certain Nikto were being cloned to fight for the Separatists.

Pellaeon and the long Naval Career.  This may seem off after one sees in the prequels that the Republic had no standing army or navy. However, they did have a judiciary fleet. Member worlds also had fleets. These actually tied into the ‘Katana’ storyline. Pellaeon is directly mentioned in The Clone Wars TV series tie in books.

The Jedi didn’t marry.  One has to consider that this began with Tales of the  Jedi, by Dark Horse comics, set long before the prequels. The transition to banning marriage seems to have started in between the Tales of the Jedi era and the Knights of the Old Republic era. That means a change within one generation. It’s not a stretch to believe Anakin Skywalker isn’t the only one who would disagree on the rule. In Jedi Trial, Nejaa Halcyon confesses to him that he has a secret family. In The Clone Wars: No Prisoners, book, Djinn Altis (master of the Jedi from Children of the Jedi) was revealed to be leader of a Splinter Faction. And in Knights of the Old Republic itself, Jolee Bindo has a great deal to say about why he left the Jedi that ties into the subject.

As for Master Ki-Adi-Mundi’s family, it’s apparently because Cereans have a very low birth rate, especially among males, that he was given special dispensation.

Only Masters sit on the Jedi Council.  Anakin said this long after Dark Horse Comics Ki-Adi-Mundi had been praised for gaining a seat while a mere Jedi Knight. This was explained as Master Mundi was only a temporary sit in for Master Giett, who was on an extended mission and out of touch.

Greedo.   Greedo had long had a backstory, written in the Tales of Mos Eisley Anthology. This got damaged by the Phantom Menace novelization, which had Anakin Skywalker (at age 9) getting into a fist fight with him. It was later explained that one was Greedo the Elder and the other was Greedo the Younger, relatives.

Boba Fett.  Boba Fett’s tale from the Bounty Hunter Wars claimed he started life as Jaster Mereel of Concord Dawn, exiled for murder. Naturally his new ‘cloned’ birth alters this. The expanded universe explained this by having Jaster Mereel of Concord Dawn being the man who adopted Jango Fett when his family was killed. Boba’s life did mimic his, in that he moved at one point to Concord Dawn, became a Journeyman Protector, only to be exiled for murder. Dark Horse Comics tells the story in the Jango Fett mini series and Republic Commando gives mention as well.

Tombstones. A minor, niggling background detail but still a puzzle. In Attack of the Clones there are clearly headstones on the Lars farm. The represented relatives of the Lars, not only Shmi. In A New Hope they are just gone. According to the Life of Luke Skywalker, he remembers overhearing a discussion about how his Uncle didn’t see any need for anyone to know where they were buried.