Fans of Star Wars might have several weeks yet to wait and see how the franchise’s original characters, Princess Leia Organa, Han Solo, and Luke Skywalker, have moved on in the more that 30 years since they last graced the silver screen. On Wednesday, producer J.J. Abrams offered Entertainment Weekly one important detail about Leia that fans may or may not have seen coming. She’s no longer going by her royal title. Instead, she’s got a moniker that has clear military implications.
“She’s referred to as General. But … there’s a moment in the movie where a character sort of slips and calls her ‘Princess.'”
Those who have closely watched the slow release of spoilers for the new Star Wars film — you can watch a four-minute supercut of all the new footage here — have noticed that although Leia and Han make appearances, there’s no sign of Luke, leading many to speculate that he may have turned to the dark side of the force. But those who fear Leia might be one of the dark side’s generals might be comforted by Carrie Fisher’s description of her character’s state of mind in the new movie.
“[She is] solitary. Under a lot of pressure. Committed as ever to her cause, but I would imagine feeling somewhat defeated, tired, and pissed.”
Abrams told EW that despite Fisher’s off-screen humor, there’s little joy in Leia’s on-screen life. She has one of Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ more difficult storylines. Even with that emotional weight, the film’s writer/director/producer said having Fisher back with co-star Harrison Ford was monumental. The actors have not performed in the Star Wars franchise since Return of the Jedi was released in 1983.
“The stakes are pretty high in the story for her, so there’s not much goofing around where Leia’s concerned.”
“But it felt historic to have her, especially with Harrison, back in scenes together. I can only imagine the baggage that they bring to it, I’m just a fan who loves this stuff, but they’ve been living with it — and living in it — since ’77.”
Fisher said the actors were “sick of each other,” and joked — perhaps — that she was most interested in Ford’s fitness routine. Back in 2013, it was reported by The Daily Mail that the Star Wars bosses employed nutritionists and trainers for Fisher and Mark Hamill to prepare for the new film.
Although old fans of the Star Wars franchise will likely love the fact that the original actors are returning to the screen, Abrams said he initially had some concerns about Fisher’s reprisal of her role as Leia. According to her IMDB resume Fisher has played small parts in recent television series, but has focused more on writing than acting. This week Hitfix reported on Fisher’s lengthy work as a script doctor on films, including the Star Wars prequels released between 1999 and 2005.
“She’d been writing more than she had been acting. So I think that for her, it was a bigger adjustment, which she made beautifully.”
The shoot had some newsworthy incidents, including when Harrison Ford injured his leg on-set. Recently on Jimmy Kimmel Live when Ford was asked whether he would be a fan of the Star Wars films were he not in them, Ford answered in the affirmative. Kimmel asked if it was “up [his] alley,” as reported by The Daily Mail.
“It’s down my block, I don’t have alleys in my neighborhood.”
The first television trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was recently released. The trailer focuses on the new film’s central female character, Rey, and seems to imply there is a family connection between her and Han Solo. At the end of October, Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey, was interviewed by Fisher. The older actor cautioned the younger to fight against any “slave outfits,” a reference to Princess Leia’s gold metal bikini from Return of the Jedi. There have been recent reports that Disney is eliminating Leia’s bikini from future Star Wars merchandise.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens December 18.
[Main photo Lucasfilm via Internationl Business Times]