Podcast: Celebrating Leia: Happy Birthday, Carrie Fisher!

Today (October 21, 2019) is Carrie Fisher’s birthday! As we prepare for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, it only seems right to celebrate her character’s impact on our culture.

Several months ago our community submitted audio clips of their Top 5 Female Star Wars Characters. One consistent theme emerged:

Leia Organa is number one, in our culture and in our hearts!

Here’s what members of The Story Geeks community had to say:

Sandra: “In the original trilogy, seeing such a strong woman who was sassy, but still had room in her heart to fall in love, but kicked butt. And even when she was in her slave costume, people will complain about that, but that wasn’t her choice of an outfit. When she was in that, though, she kicked Jabba’s butt and saved herself, and that was such a wonderful thing to see in films of that time.” 

She can be feminine while still kicking butt.

Alex: “Leia is trailblazing, she’s so amazing. She’s leading rebellions at the age of 18. How many of us can say we did that? Much like Padme, she was a role model for me growing up. She can be feminine while still kicking butt. The thing I love most is how emotionally strong she is. She allows herself to feel and have emotions but still push forward. She loses her parents and her entire planet in one fell swoop, and she mourns, but she moves on to what’s important in that moment. Then she loses Han and she leads the Resistance, all while forgiving her son and hoping he comes home. She’s been through so much her whole life and she keeps moving forward.”


She could have said, ‘I’ve done my time.’ But no, she continued to carry the banner for the rebellion.

Michael: “Princess… General… Amazing! That’s right, we all know! The reason I love Leia might be different from others: Leia always had that fire. Leia always had that smoke. When we first meet Leia, what was she doing? Standing in the face of Tarkin and Vader like, ‘You ain’t scaring nobody!’ Like, ‘I ain’t worried about you!’ Whenever someone comes up to her, she never lays down. She never backs down. That is the sign of a true G. If you’ve got a lady right now, I hope she’s like Leia. Because Leia is gonna make sure that nobody walks over her. She doesn’t play games! She was behind enemy lines and still talking smack to Tarkin, right on the ship with nobody at her back! You’ve gotta give her those props. And then, on top of that, when years pass… when she’s done her duty… when she’s done what no one else could do, she could have laid it down. She could have said, ‘I’ve done my time.’ But no, she continued to carry the banner for the rebellion, no matter how long it was. Even when people were like, ‘Vader’s your daddy! Vader’s your daddy!” Did you see that stop her? No. She was “hashtag blessed” and kept it moving right along. Leia, I salute you. My number 1 lady. She is amazing. She never lets anybody back her down. Darkside. Empire. First Order. WHATEVER. She doesn’t lay down for anybody and that’s the type of woman you need.”

“Princess,” immediately brings brings to mind a damsel-in-distress that needs saving, and instead we get this strong politician and rebel leader.

Caitlin: “What can I say about Leia that hasn’t already said? I love her presence and aura of command. It’s really amazing that, with how young and pretty Carrie Fisher was in the first movie, we watched her tell Darth Vader off without a single question in our minds that she had the right and strength to do so. I love what they did in making her a “Princess,” because the word immediately brings brings to mind girliness and a damsel-in-distress that needs saving, and instead we get this strong politician and rebel leader. That contrast set us up to be surprised by her. I love that her transition from Princess Leia to General Organa is so seamless. If you think about it, she seemed like an acting general already by Hoth in the Empire Strikes Back.  She was also maybe a little too perfect as a character, but it made her pairing with Han Solo more interesting – the whole prim-proper-girl-falls-for-a-rogue-thing. If she had been paired with Luke instead, that would have been bo-ring. But Han was the perfect foil for her and made us buy into her even more. And I love that she gives Han his “I know” right back on Endor. Love that little detail.” 

She stands up to Vader and Tarkin, two of the most intimidating people in the galaxy.

Cody: “From the beginning you see her making sure R2D2 gets away with the plans for the Death Star, so that even if she doesn’t escape later, the rebels still have the plans to the Death Star and they can still go on to defeat the Empire. She stands up to Vader and she stands up to Tarkin, who are two of the most intimidating people in the galaxy. When she does meet our heroes who are attempting to rescue her, she ends up taking control of the situation and, in essence, rescuing herself. She goes on to continue leading the Rebellion, which she has been doing with Mon Mothma and Ackbar, the likes of them. She even kills Jabba the Hut. Eventually she helps create the Resistance, in a time where everybody else is ignoring the fact that you’ve still got the Empire remnant and the First Order out there, and they’re a problem, and it’s kind of a controversial thing to build up an army because everybody’s trying to bring about peace in the galaxy. But she says, ‘you know, these are bad guys, we need to do something about them.’

Kimberley: Leia Organa, but to me she’s always going to be Princess Leia. When I first saw the Star Wars movies, getting to see her, meeting her for the first time, she’s so full of youth and spunk. She’s also very courageous when she’s met up with Darth Vader, he’s telling her, “We’re chasing you because we know you have these plans.” And she’s like, ‘What are you talking about, I’m on a diplomatic travel.’ And it’s funny now because of Rogue One, we see that he JUST SAW her. He just saw her getting those plans. So now we see that she’s just straight-in-his-eyes lying to him. But he knows she has those plans. Even when her home planet is threatened to be obliterated to pieces, she still stands her ground and says, ‘No, I don’t have anything, I don’t have those plans.” And then and there they use the Death Star and blow her home, her family, her parents, her friends, everything is gone in an instant. She still doesn’t say anything. She just continues the path to help the rebellion bring order back to the galaxy.”

She’s not going to let her trauma and issues get in the way of helping other people.

Shannon: “I’ve had an interesting and long journey with Leia’s character. I’m fairly new to the Star Wars community. I came into it with The Force Awakens, I hadn’t seen anything until I saw The Force Awakens. I didn’t really know much about the franchise and the characters at all. I knew that Leia was one of the most beloved characters. I didn’t really know anything beyond that, I just knew that she was the only one, really in the original trilogy. After watching all of the movies and reading a lot of the new books that have come out, after seeing where they’ve taken her character in the new trilogy, and after reading a lot of stuff from Carrie Fisher, I’ve come to love Leia’s character so, so much. Because I do really identify with a lot of the stuff that she’s gone through, the stuff that she stands for. Because this is a character who has been through a lot of stuff, but she doesn’t let that stand in her way. She will still put on her brave face. She knows that people need a leader, they need someone to believe in, and she’s not going to let all of her trauma and all of her issues get in the way of her helping other people. And even though that can sometimes be to a fault, even though sometimes people will say that she’s an Ice Princess and doesn’t show emotion and all that kind of stuff, she’s just trying to be a leader. She’s just trying to be there for other people. And she’ll deal with her own emotions on her own time and in her own way. She is just going to put on that brave face and keep moving forward. And that’s something that I really admire and even though it’s very tragic, it’s also very beautiful. I really love her character. I’m really interested to see where they take her character in Episode IV now that we don’t have Carrie Fisher anymore, because I do believe that Carrie did have a strong influence on the direction of Leia’s character, so I just hope that we do get a satisfying and complete end for her, whether that’s in Episode IV, or if we get it in books or comics down the line.”

She is equal to Han and Luke and able to hold her own in all situations.

Jim: “Leia started it all. There aren’t a whole lot of female characters in the original trilogy, named characters other than Leia. You see her strong will right from the start, when she resists Vader and the mind probe. Of course, later we find out that’s because she’s Anakin’s daughter and has the Force with her, but we can see that strong resolve in her. As the trilogy progresses you see her getting stronger and stronger. As a leader in the Rebellion, she’s not just a leader, but she’s a fighting leader, she’s actually in combat. She’s not doing anything that she wouldn’t ask of her troops. She puts herself out there, and I think she goes toe-to-toe with Luke and Han all the way. She definitely can stand beside them, and she’s equal to them, which is a nice thing to see, especially in the 70’s, you didn’t necessarily see a whole lot of that. We’re starting to see more of that now. In the 70’s it was more rare. But you see that she is a strong character, you see that she is equal to Han and Luke and able to hold her own in all situations.”

Merrie: “Leia was my first female Star Wars cast member. I remember being 5 years old and falling in love with her, and those ridiculous cinnamon buns on the side of her head. I really fell in love with how feisty her character was, and I’ve liked how she’s changed, she was stuck in that awful dress in that first film, but you see her take on more and more and wear pants, but also hold her own with the guys. And I really respected that and liked her. And I definitely like what they’ve done with her character now that she’s a general.”

She’s an action-oriented hero. She’s smart, she’s capable. People treat her with respect.

Ashley: “Leia is a character that means so much to so many female Star Wars fans. I’m just so glad that she’s a part of this universe. And one of the things I appreciate most about her is that she could have easily been a stereotypical damsel in distress but she’s not. She’s a leader. She’s an action-oriented hero. She’s smart, she’s capable. People treat her with respect, and I just love that so much. She goes on such an incredible journey throughout the series and becomes an even better person. I think it’s really sad that we will not get to see the full conclusion of Leia’s character due to the tragic passing of Carrie Fisher, but I’m glad we got her wonderful performance in The Last Jedi, and I hope they can find a way to give her a satisfying end, because she definitely deserves it. And I hope it’s a little bit of a happy ending, because she’s been through a lot of tragedy, and has persevered through so many bad things that have happened. And I appreciate the things that Carrie Fisher has done in real life as well, such as being an advocate for mental health, and encouraging people to break free from addiction. I just think Leia is great. And even though Darth Vader is my favorite character in all the Star Wars characters, I think that Leia is arguably the most important character in all the Star Wars characters. Star Wars wouldn’t be what it was without her. She’s important in the story and in pop culture. And I don’t know if Disney would ever be interested in this or not, but I’d be interested in seeing an alternate take on the story where Leia is the one who ends up becoming a Jedi, and maybe Luke is the Prince of Alderaan. Not sure that is something they would do or not, but would totally love to see them dive into that because I think that Leia would make a great Jedi as well. I loved seeing her get to use the Force just a little bit, wish it was even more, in The Last Jedi. Even though I might have shot that scene differently, but the fact that she gets to use the Force is awesome, and I hope that she’ll have a great end to wrap up her story in Episode IV.”


Want to keep celebrating Carrie Fisher’s birthday and Leia today? Check out our podcast digging deeper into her character journey.

Our NEXT 14 PODCASTS AND AFTERCASTS ARE ABOUT STAR WARS! Make sure to subscribe on Apple, Podbean, or Stitcher

Here’s the Lineup:

    • Nov. 12: The Last Jedi – Dig Deeper
    • Nov. 13: Make It Better – The Sequel Trilogy (Aftercast)
    • Nov. 19: Does The Force make for a good religion?
    • Nov. 20: The Jedi & The Sith – Dig Deeper (Aftercast)
    • Nov. 26: Pitch a New Star Wars Trilogy – Nerdfight!
    • Nov. 27: Stories we want to see after #TROS (Aftercast)
    • Dec. 3: Character Focus: Anakin Skywalker
    • Dec. 4: Top 10 Star Wars Characters (Aftercast)
    • Dec. 10: The Women of Star Wars (Nick Prokop‘s Aftercast suggestion promoted to the main show!)
    • Dec. 11: Most Powerful Star Wars Character – Nerdfight! (Aftercast)
    • Dec. 17: Redemption in Star Wars
    • Dec. 18: Legends/Extended Universe – Dig Deeper (Aftercast)
    • Dec. 24: Star Wars: Episode IX Reaction
    • Dec. 25 (Merry Christmas!): Character Focus: Emperor Palpatine (Aftercast)

Let’s get ready for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker!


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