I don’t know how old i was the first time i saw Star Wars… Maybe 6? Something like that. It was new. Or relatively so, but it came out in the theater when i was barely conscious. Probably unconscious… As in too young to even know. But it was one of those things i grew up into. I don’t know how. It was like… like it made up the air i breathed. Like… well… A Force, i’d reckon. It permeated everything. It flowed through things.
I remember i had a huge stack of Topps Star Wars playing cards before i’d even seen the movie. My collection of Kenner Star Wars action figures was already growing rapidly – even though i didn’t know any of the characters or what they represented or who they were.
And then i saw it. It was at a drive in. I was supposed to be asleep. A double feature with the Rescuers… which i was allowed to watch. Star Wars… no. but i did anyway. Of course.
The Force, such as it was, hasn’t abated in me since. I’m now 42. There was a period of time there when it came under assault… if you’re a fan, you know of the dark times i speak. We don’t talk about them.
But now, the Force has been reawakened. The resistance grows. Now, just when the Empire seems it’s on it’s ascendency once again, we’ve found a new hope.
But then there’s this.
Our Princess is gone.
She will always be royalty.
When you’re six years old you aren’t blessed with a great store of negative representation. There’s nothing formed in you. You are but a little Padawan… learning the ways of the force at the hands of film, books, tv. With luck, you get some excellent guidance at the hands of little green creatures who spend their time in swamps – sometimes playing banjo to some wayward alligators and Dom Deluise. Sometimes by stealing your food. But i was unformed. They taught me.
Let’s just say that, when i was six, i didn’t know how important the representation of Leia was. I didn’t have an abundance of knowledge about how Princesses were supposed to be. She taught me. More than anyone else. Princesses don’t need saving. In fact, they will save your butt. Sometimes by forcing you into the garbage chute to discover grand new incredible smells, sometimes by blasting away at the stormtroopers so you can escape. That was a princess. They weren’t… still aren’t… wilting flowers waiting for a rescuer. I had yet to discover the Disney Princesses who did that. And when i did… i compared them to her. Still do.
So… yeah. May the Force be with you Carrie. You’d seen the dark side. But you came through your trials with humor and grit. And an entire generation owes you for seeing what princess CAN be. We’re still learning. The empire, and the dark side, is strong. But we’re the resistance. We’ll remember.