There would be no way to celebrate Star Wars without mentioning Carrie Fisher.
The actress, who starred as the iconic Princess Leia in the franchise, died in December, but she was very present at Thursday’s event in Orlando marking the 40th anniversary of the first Star Wars movie. Fisher’s 24-year-old daughter, Billie Lourd, who’s also an actress, was there to take in the love for her mother.
“Feeling the ultimate strength of the force from all of the incredible fans at #starwarscelebration after our tribute to my #momby,” Lourd posted on Instagram.
Lourd appeared onstage, wearing a Princess Leia-inspired dress by Tom Ford, to share a heartfelt speech.
“My mom, like Leia, was never afraid to speak her mind and say things that might have made most people uncomfortable — but not me, and not you,” Lourd told the crowd. “That is why she loved you, because you accepted and embraced all of her; the strong soldier of a woman she was, and also the vulnerable side of her, who often openly fought her own dark side, knowing early on that we all have a dark side of our own, whatever it may be. But she knew it wasn’t about the fight you were fighting, but how you fought it — the way you resisted.”
The former Scream Queens actress also introduced a heartwarming — and heartbreaking — video tribute to her outspoken and funny mom. The five-minute montage showed Fisher wielding weapons and wearing her signature braids onscreen, doling out pithy quotes offscreen, and meeting fans. Fisher’s beloved dog, Gary, also nabbed some screen time.
Star Wars director George Lucas spoke about his appreciation of Fisher.
“When Carrie came in, she was that character,” Lucas told the crowd. “She was very strong, very smart, very funny, very bold, very tough, and there really wasn’t much of a question. There are not very many people like her. They are one in a billion. For this particular part, it was absolutely perfect. … She wore a dress through the whole thing, but she was the toughest in the group.”
Mark Hamill later posted a photo with himself, Billie and Harrison Ford, arms around each other, writing, “So much like her mother in so many ways- it was almost as if we were cuddling our Princess again! #BillieLourd #DejaVuAllOverAgain #SWCO.”
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) April 14, 2017
Lourd has shared several throwback photos of Fisher since she died following a cardiac arrest in December. Fisher was 60 years old. At the same time, Lourd has been coping with the death of her grandmother, Debbie Reynolds, who died just one day after her daughter. Reynolds, 84, suffered a stroke at her Beverly Hills home.
Both were remembered at a public memorial last month.
Lourd kept some of her mom’s words alive at the Star Wars celebration when she cited one of the lessons Fisher taught her: “If life isn’t funny, then it’s just true, and that is unacceptable.”
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