Star Wars: The Last Jedi is finally out in theaters, giving fans their final viewing of Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa in a Star Wars movie. And her performance did not disappoint. There had been a lot of talk about Mark Hamill delivering his best acting performance thus far, before the movie came out, and that praise is deserving. But Fisher's role demands just as much attention and not because this is her final turn in a Star Wars movie, but because she is witty and commanding, showing us more of Carrie Fisher in the character. The Last Jedi offers us a side of Leia Organa that we've never seen, and it's a fitting tribute to the late actress. There are SPOILER AHEAD, so you have been warned.
Carrie Fisher, who originated the iconic role of Leia in the original 1977 Star Wars died last December. In her final appearance as the Princess of the Rebellion turned General of the Resistance, Fisher delivers a solid, understated performance. Though her role is larger in The Last Jedi than it was in The Force Awakens, Fisher is kept mostly on the sidelines, but still steals every scene that she's in. Carrie Fisher even gets to share a heartfelt moment with Mark Hamill, reunited with her onscreen brother, Luke Skywalker for the first time since 1983's Return of the Jedi.
The matriarch of the Resistance is also the heartbeat of the movie and the thread weaving in out of the 150-minute movie. The scene between Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill is already emotional for what it means in the movie, Leia has been through the ringer over the last 30 years and the sight of her brother is really something that's hard to put into writing, but the emotion in the scene is heightened because you realize it's the last scene that the two actors will ever appear in together. Though the scene is short, it's incredibly powerful and really shows that Fisher and Hamill were almost related, in a sense. In addition, her short scenes with Laura Dern are brief and they leave you wanting more, wondering what could have been with the two powerful women leading the Resistance while teaching Poe about strategy.
One of the scenes in The Last Jedi that has been seen as controversial comes near the beginning of the movie when Leia is sucked out into space, after two TIE Fighters blast through, when Kylo Ren fails to do blow up her ship. Leia is seen floating in space with debris, many believing that she's dead. But she uses her Force powers for the first time ever seen in a Star Wars movie and is able to glide back into the ship for safety where she spends some time in a coma. Though the sight of Leia flying through space is a bit odd, it's highlighted by Carrie Fisher's non-dramatic way of pulling it off. When investigated further, it looks natural and not forced, no pun intended.
The Last Jedi is a fitting tribute to Carrie Fisher, but her performance is a loving tribute to Leia Organa and what she means to women all over the world. Fisher was not oblivious to what the character meant to people and her performance above all, highlights that feeling. In closing, yes The Last Jedi is emotional because Carrie Fisher is no longer with us, but her performance stands on its own, leaving the added weight that she was supposed to be the main focus in Episode IX. While it's not clear how J.J. Abrams will address the death of Fisher, it is clear that he has some mighty big shoes to fill after Rian Johnson and Carrie Fisher knocked it out of the park. You can read more about the strength of Carrie Fisher's performance in The Last Jedi over at StarWars.com.