Fisher set the bar for Star Wars female leads: Fans

Carrie Fisher in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, with Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford.
Carrie Fisher in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, with Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford.PHOTO: LUCASFILM

Carrie Fisher was the original Star Wars heroine and still the best one, say Star Wars fans in Singapore in tribute to the late American actress who played Princess Leia in the science-fiction franchise.

She died on Tuesday at the age of 60, four days after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Mr Joshua Goh, a 24-year-old law undergraduate, says: "Beyond being Han Solo's love interest, she was a powerful character in her own right and embodied the Rebellion that she led against the Empire."

Mr Norman Ng, 24, a physics undergraduate, adds that English actress Daisy Ridley - who played a new heroine, Rey, in last year's The Force Awakens - has to meet the high standard Fisher set.

"Princess Leia was a proper feminist icon - and this was the 1970s, when Disney was still employing the damsel-in-distress trope. Ridley has a lot to live up to."

Referring to another new strong female character in the series, played by English actress Felicity Jones in the just-released Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Mr Goh says: "People like to talk about how Ridley and Jones' characters portray strong female heroes in Star Wars. But they forget that Fisher's Leia was the first and, I would say, still the best."

 
 
 

Moreover, Fisher was not just spunky on screen as Leia, but she was also equally gutsy in real life.

"As a person, she was never afraid to talk about tough topics like her struggles with mental illness and she always gave the most amusing interviews," says Mr Goh.

The 501st Singapore Garrison, a local branch of a worldwide Star Wars costuming organisation, posted a tribute to Fisher on its Facebook page.

"She always went one step beyond to make sure fans got a special memory, whether it was getting sprinkled with glitter or taking home a conspicuous lipstick stain," the tribute reads.

"She died last night Singapore time, drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra."

The latter is a nod to Fisher's 2008 autobiography, where she wrote that it was how she wanted her death to be reported.

Above all, local fans say Star Wars would not be the same without key actors such as Fisher.

Mr Ng Hak Beng, a 43-year-old IT consultant and a Star Wars fan who has spent $15,000 building his own version of the R2-D2 droid, says: "I am totally shocked. Just yesterday, I read online that her mother had said she was getting better after her heart attack.

"I am definitely sad. Star Wars is not Star Wars without its key characters."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 29, 2016, with the headline 'Fisher set the bar for Star Wars female leads: Fans'. Print Edition | Subscribe