It took about thirty minutes for Mark Hamill to get choked up during a Star Wars Celebration panel dedicated to paying tribute to the recently departed Carrie Fisher — appropriately titled Mark Hamill’s Tribute to Carrie Fisher, and very much as advertised — but when he did, it only felt right. After all, the tribute was as much about remembering Fisher with love, as it was about moving past grief.
The Friday evening panel was ostensibly hosted by Celebration regular Warwick Davis, though the bulk of the hour consisted of a solo Hamill sharing stories about his “space sis” — from their first meeting (where the actor admitted she proved to be more creative and colorful) to their discovery that they were playing siblings to amusing revelations about ill-advised makeout sessions and the shape and form of their relationship in their elder years — occasionally broken up by video messages from other members of the “Star Wars” family.
“The Last Jedi” director Rian Johnson sent in his own video memory, as did Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and “Star Wars” creator George Lucas. A recently unveiled tribute video, first shown during Thursday’s 40 Years of “Star Wars” panel, was shown again to massive applause.
But Hamill’s pain remained obvious, even as he celebrated Fisher’s life and the contributions she had made to his. He closed out the event with an impassioned message to fans, the very people who meant so much to Fisher while she was still alive.
“I want to thank you, because this is part of the process that I need to move on,” Hamill told the crowd. “I’ve tried very hard, but you know we lost Kenny Baker and Carrie in such a close period of time.”
He continued, “But she loved you, and I certainly love you and I need your support, and we all need each other’s support to make sure that we honor her legacy in a way that she earned and in a way that she deserved.”
Hamill closed out with a quote from a traditional poem about mourning that seemed fitting. “I’m thinking of one last quote for you, and that is: ‘For as long as we live, so too she shall live, because she has become a part of us all.’ And we’ll never stop missing her.”
Fisher will next be seen in December’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which will mark her final appearance in the Star Wars universe.
This year’s Star Wars Celebration runs April 13 – 17 in Orlando, Florida.