Carrie Fisher rose to global stardom as Princess Leia, one of the lead protagonists in George Lucas’ three original Star Wars films over the late 1970s and early ’80s. After an early peak, Fisher made occasional appearances on the big screen, including those in Hannah and Her Sisters, The Burbs, When Harry Met Sally, and Soapdish.
On top of the cumbrous burden the Star Wars typecast bestowed, Fisher’s career prospects over the late 1980s and beyond were hampered by a struggle with bipolar disorder and a problematic relationship with substance abuse. In the latter years of her career, Fisher received praise for speaking publicly about her experiences with mental illness and addiction and wrote several highly impactful books, most notably Postcards from the Edge and Wishful Drinking.
In April 2016, just eight months before the actor’s death, aged 60, she appeared behind the microphone at a Q&A event at the Tribecca Film Festival. During the interview, Fisher jovially revealed that certain shortcomings in Lucas’ scripts made her pursue a writing career.
Picking one troublesome line in particular from the franchise’s 1977 debut, Star Wars: A New Hope, Carrie repeated it three times to illustrate its incommodious nature: “I have placed information vital to the survival of the Rebellion into the memory systems of this R2 unit.”
Continuing in the Q&A, Fisher revealed that her disdain for the line was behind her decision to deliver it in a jarringly contrived British accent in the film’s final cut.
It transpires that Fisher’s late co-star Alec Guinness, who played the original part of Obi-Wan Kenobi, was also dissatisfied with some of Lucas’s dialogue. The legendary actor wrote in a letter at the time: “New rubbish dialogue reaches me every other day on wadges of pink paper, and none of it makes my character clear or even bearable.”
Despite some difficult dialogue, the initial run of Star Wars films were an unbridled success. Star Wars is now among the most enduring and adored franchises as it continues under the Disney banner.
Sadly, Lucas has small issues and regrets about the franchise, and the $4 billion deal with Disney in 2012 appears to be among the biggest. He had some ideas for the third trilogy and reportedly left some handover notes, but Disney ended up taking a different route.
“I’ve spent my life creating Star Wars — 40 years — and giving it up was very, very painful. But it was the right thing to do. I thought I was going to have a little bit more to say about the next three because I’d already started them, but they decided they wanted to do something else. Things don’t always work out the way you want. Life is like that,” per The Star Wars Archives: Episodes I-III 1999-2005 by Paul Duncan.