This year’s Star Wars Celebration kicked off with a “40 Years of ‘Star Wars'” panel that included a surprise appearance by George Lucas, but the real star was the late Carrie Fisher, who appeared in a heart-rending tribute video that was presented by her daughter, Billie Lourd.
Lourd, who recently appeared in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” took to the stage after a loving introduction from both Lucas and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, who offered their own memories of their Princess Leia (Lucas billed her as “one in a billion”).
“My mom used to say she never knew where Princess Leia ended and Carrie Fisher began,” Lourd said to the packed house. “She was imperfect in many ways but her imperfections and willingness to speak about them are what made her more than perfect. My mom, like Leia, wasn’t ever afraid to speak her mind and say things that might have made most people uncomfortable, but not me and not you. That was why she loved you, because you accepted and embraced all of her.”
Lourd offered up some signature lessons from her mother, first with a perfect rendition of Leia’s signature “you’re my only hope” speech, followed by the kind of life lessons only Fisher could impart.
“Secondly, she taught me that if life isn’t funny then it’s just true, and that is unacceptable,” Lourd continued. “And finally, she taught me by her own example, that the most evolved person is seemingly a contradiction — they are both the strongest and the most vulnerable person in the room. And that was her. That is Leia.”
Lourd’s touching speech was followed by a full tribute to Fisher, featuring clips from her work in the “Star Wars” franchise, insightful interviews and a generous dose of her signature humor.
The panel coincides with the May anniversary of the release of “A New Hope,” and proved to be a sit-down chat with appearances by Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Hayden Christensen and Billy Dee Williams.
This year’s Star Wars Celebration runs April 13 – 17 in Orlando, Florida.