Leia was dead: to begin with.
I feel like that’s where Episode IX begins, because how can it not? I came out of The Last Jedi wondering how on earth they meant to go on, without Carrie Fisher, without giving us the Leia film that so clearly should be Episode IX.
If you haven’t seen The Last Jedi, there are going to be some spoilers here, hey.
Mostly, I want to sit with her story and think how it has come to an unnatural end, given the death of Carrie Fisher last year at this time.
Mostly, I want to think about the princess I met in the depths of a ship as she fled from Stormtroopers. I want to think about her and R2, about garbage chutes, and flyboys.
Mostly, I want to consider how she lifted everyone up when her whole planet had been decimated. How she never really had time to mourn because the resistance didn’t need that from her. She put a poncho around Luke and she carried on though everything she had known was now debris.
Mostly, I want to think about the woman we see in The Last Jedi and how she has lost everyone — and still goes on. We didn’t need to see her use the Force to know how strong she is (but it was kind of cool, wasn’t it?). Stronger than her brother? Stronger than her father. Stronger than her son.
(It upset me that she was so willing to believe her son was lost — had she lost so much that she cannot conceive of anyone surviving the Dark?)
(Also, I cannot wait to read Leia by Claudia Gray, because Bloodlines was spectacular.)
Mostly, I want to think about Leia sitting beside Rey in a crowded ship and telling her “we have everything we need,” and reminding us all that no matter who has left our lives, they’re never really gone.
Mostly, I want to think about Leia and Luke sitting almost-together, touching hands across light-years. “I changed my hair,” she says. (And you know who wrote that line, you just know.)
Carrie, you came into my life when I was six, and you will stay with me for always. You showed me that women could be strong, especially in expected ways — we can be writers, we can be addicts, we can be recovering, we can be confessing — and we keep going. We keep fighting. We have everything we need.