'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' cast talks Leia's legacy

USA TODAY - Carrie Fisher, known to the galaxy as Princess Leia, had an indelible impact on the women who star with her in The Last Jedi (in theaters Dec. 15), the next epic film in the Star Wars franchise.

Fisher, who died last December after shooting her part, exploded to universal fame in 1977's Star Wars. Returning in 2015's The Force Awakens, now as General Leia, Fisher showed off the sardonic, wisecracking honesty she was known for offscreen.

“(I really look up to) how much courage it takes to truly be yourself when you’re on a public platform,” said Kelly Marie Tran, who is introduced as Rose Tico in The Last Jedi, during a news conference Sunday at the InterContinental Downtown hotel. “She was so unapologetic and so open.

"She'll always be an icon as Leia, but also as Carrie," Tran added. "What an example."

Daisy Ridley, who stars as Rey in the franchise, glimpsed many of Fisher's qualities in her daughter Billie Lourd, who'll be seen in The Last Jedi.

Fisher was "smart and funny and shameless, and Carrie bringing up a daughter who is all of those qualities, and then some — that speaks volumes to what she did, and in the spotlight,” Ridley said.

Laura Dern, who plays Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, said Fisher had an "endless and profound impact" on her as a young girl. That only grew watching Fisher up close.

“People speak about (those) who are brave or fearless," Dern said. "I’ve known, luckily, a few people that would hold those descriptions."

Gwendoline Christie, who stars as Captain Phasma, recalled being struck by Leia, watching her for the first time at age 6.

"I thought, 'Wow, that character is really different,' " said Christie. "She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s courageous, she’s bold, she doesn’t care what people think and isn’t one to be told what to do."

Leia stayed with the 6-foot-3 Game of Thrones star.

"It was instrumental to someone like me, who didn’t feel like she fit that homogenized view of what a woman was supposed to be," Christie said. "You can celebrate yourself and be successful without giving yourself over or making a big compromise."

Copyright 2017 USA TODAY


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