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: http://www.sciencealert.com/can-you-really-die-from-a-broken-heart

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. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/films/2016/12/28/watch-carrie-fisher-roast-george-lucas-2005-award-ceremony/

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.

Allegiance Review

Star Wars Allegiance Book Cover Star Wars Allegiance
Timothy Zahn
sci fi/fantasy
Del Rey
2007
Hardcover

Never before has the incendiary mix of action, politics, and intrigue that has become Timothy Zahn’s trademark, been more evident that in this new Star Wars epic. On the heels of the stunning events chronicled in Star Wars: A New Hope, the newly minted heroes of the Rebellion–fledgling Jedi Luke Skywalker, smuggler turned reluctant freedom-fighter Han Solo, and Princess Leia Organa, a bold leader with a world to avenge–must face the harsh realities of the cataclysmic conflict into which they have so bravely plunged. From this point forward, legends will grow, treachery will abound, and lives will be irrevocably altered, in the long, hard fight to counter the fist of tyranny and restore hope to a galaxy too long in darkness.

The destruction of the Death Star by the Rebel Alliance was a decisive blow against the Empire, but Palpatine and his monstrous enforcer, Darth Vader, are no less of a threat. The brutal extermination of Alderaan not only demonstrated the magnitude of their murderous power, but served as a chilling testament to their resolve to crush the Rebel uprising. Standing against them, Skywalker, Solo, and the Princess remain uncertain opponents. Luke is gifted and brave, but unschooled in the power he possesses. Han has doubts about waging someone else’s war–and his contentiousness is one more burden for Leia to bear as she struggles to help keep the Rebellion alive. The three have been sent to mediate a dispute between Rebel Alliance factions in Shelsha Sector–agitating matters by forcing Han to deal not only with pirates, but with his more dreaded enemy, politics. At the same time, Mara Jade–all of eighteen and years away from her fateful meeting with Luke–is serving her evil master, Palpatine, well in her role as the Emperor’s Hand: tracking suspected treachery in the Empire to what may be high places–while trying to stay out of Darth Vader’s way.

But the Rebels will prove to be only one of the Empire’s concerns. For Imperial Stormtrooper Daric LaRone, his faith in the Empire shaken by the wanton destruction of Alderaan, will commit a sudden and violent act of defiance, and take four other enforcers with him, in a desperate bid to elude their masters’ wrath.

Each of these fateful actions, whether sanctioned, secret, or scandalous, will expose brutality and corruption, spur upheavals destined to shake the Empire to its core, and shape momentous events yet to come.

Shannon McRandle as Mara Jade

Shannon McRandle as Mara Jade

My View:

The story jumps between the main trilogy heroes, Luke, Leia and Han,  Mara Jade (AKA The Emperor’s Hand), and the Imperial Stormtrooper group who find themselves on the wrong end of the Imperial Security Bureau. Forced to go rogue, the Stormtroopers name themselves the Hand of Judgement and set out to right the wrongs of corruption.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this is that its a story about trying to do the right thing for the little person, no matter how hard it is. In this respect, while Mara Jade and the rogue Stormtroopers all believe in the Empire and Emperor, they also recognize their are times corruption has set in. So in their own way, while still not turning into Rebels, they seek to help the little guy. This sets them on a collision course with each other as well as the Rebels. As it turns out…they all have the same enemy this time around.

I really enjoyed how Luke and Leia, both trying to keep a low profile, can’t resist someone in need and take action. It showed that on some level, they think alike. It’s very appropriate for twins. And how Leia is expected to keep a low profile shows a whole new side to her. Luke meanwhile has to deal with the spirit of Kenobi whispering in his ear and guiding him…which also doesn’t help with the low profile business. Their allegiance to doing the right thing by the little guy is the core of being a Jedi, whether they know it (and whether the Jedi always remembered it) or not. Han’s attitude was very much of a guy who doesn’t yet want to admit that he’s really in this, because he believes in it, as opposed to just out of friendship.

The stormtroopers were a nice change, giving face to the faceless and revealing how people honestly believed in the Empire and yet could still end up in trouble with them. And their determination to keep helping the innocent while wearing the armor is heroic. They know, eventually, what may happen when the ISB catches up. Yet they don’t blame the entire Empire for the ISB’s corruption.  They were individuals, definitely not clones, with their own preferences and quirks. Each one had to face the question of what to do when you are given orders you know are criminally wrong. Each one had to decide between loyalty to one friend who was in trouble (and in the right) and whether going along with him was worth their careers and lives. Truly, where does their Allegiance lie? With the government and citizens they are sworn to serve or with it’s corrupt leaders?

Mara Jade’s relationship with Vader gets introduced. They aren’t together much but for those who know how Palpatine groomed Anakin Skywalker, one can see how Vader might react to this girl being treated the way he once was. Of course, she doesn’t know that.  And its also clear when it comes to his passions (Luke), Vader is, to use 3PO’s term ‘not entirely stable’ emotionally. Anyone who gets in between Luke and his father, even the Emperor’s Hand, is in serious danger.

The ending was a nice twist. Just when you think you figure out the stormtroopers, one surprises you. There is also a nice tie in to The Empire Strikes Back, as we see how ‘Ozzel’ ends up under Vader and hints that he’d been given just enough noose to…well, choke himself.

Other Stories about these Characters and Places

This book ties into the sequel ‘Choices of One’.

Mara Jade was introduced in the post ROTJ book Heir to the Empire as the Emperor’s Hand. This story is set before that. She is young in this, no older than Luke, but better trained.

Other stories with Mara:

  • Choices of One
  • Sleight of Hand: The Tale of Mara Jade
  • By the Emperor’s Hand
  • First Contact (Adventure Journal/Anthology)
  • Jade Solitaire (Adventure Journal/Anthology)
  • Heir to the Empire
  • Dark Force Rising
  • The Last Command
  • Jedi Academy Trilogy
  • I, Jedi
  • Mysteries of the Sith (Video Game)
  • Ambush at Corellia
  • Assault on Selonia
  • Showdown at Centerpoint
  • Specter of the Past
  • Vision of the Future
  • Union (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Judge’s Call
  • Survivor’s Quest
  • New Jedi Order Series
  • Dark Nest Crisis Trilogy
  • Legacy of the Force Series

The character Disra, appears in:

  • Specter of the Past
  • Vision of the Future.

The way Mara is treated by the Emperor reminded me of how he treated Anakin Skywalker, in:

  • Jedi Quest, the False Peace
  • Labyrinth of Evil
  • Secrets of the Jedi
  • Attack of the Clones
  • Revenge of the Sith

In these, he acted the part of benevolent adviser to Anakin.

Luke, Leia and Han:

Dark Horse Comics

  • Empire Series
  • Rebellion Series
  • Shadows of the Empire (comic adaptation)
  • Evolution

Bantam

  • Shadows of the Empire

Del Rey

  • Han Solo Trilogy (Ann Crispin)
  • Han Solo Trilogy (Brian Daley)
  • Razor’s Edge (Leia)
  • Honor Among Thieves (Han)
  • Scoundrels (Han)
  • Rebel Forces (YA)

 

The appear in nearly anything post Return of the Jedi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movie Character – Leia Organa – Expanded

Leia Organa Solo in Swarm Wars

Leia Organa Solo in Swarm Wars, as a Jedi Knight

Princess Leia Organa faces many trials not only during her time with the Rebellion, but also afterward. The first personal challenge is dealing with her discovery that Luke Skywalker is her brother and Darth Vader AKA Anakin Skywalker is her biological Father.

Adopted and raised by Bail Organa of Alderaan, her skills led to her being both a leader of the Rebel Alliance and a chief architect of the New Republic.  This led to unusual challenges, such as suitors wanting to marry her for political alliance, rather than love. Due to her duties to the Alliance, she seriously considered this but ultimately marries Han Solo.

Given the discovery of who her Father is, Leia is reluctant (if not outright afraid) to use her birthright of Force sensitivity and Jedi potential. She’s also afraid to have children.

This fear she eventually overcomes, and she has three, Jacen and Jaina (twins) and young Anakin, who she named, in part, to redeem her Father’s name and remind herself that great evil can be redeemed for good.

Leia Organa and her Career:

High points of Leia’s career include her becoming Chief of State of the New Republic for several decades, until right before a peace treaty is reached with the Empire. She also went on to become a full Jedi Knight.

The vast majority of stories after Return of the Jedi feature Leia, but here are some highlights:

Dealing with her relationship with Vader / Anakin as her biological father:

Truce at Bakura,
Tatooine Ghost
Planet of Twilight.

Birth of her children and it’s consequences:

Thrawn trilogy
Dark Empire
Jedi Academy trilogy

Her past as a Princess of Alderaan:

Children of the Jedi
Razor’s Edge (rebellion era)
Star Wars Rebel Girl

DH Empire 5 and 6 – Princess, Warrior
DH Empire 20 and 21 – A Little Piece of Home