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Throughout 2015 there has been a concerted effort to try and close the gap of gender inequality in Hollywood. Unfortunately, things don’t get any easier for older actresses. Either roles just aren’t written for you at all, or even when you’re asked to return as one of the most iconic characters in cinematic history it’s also requested that you lose a substantial amount of weight. Just ask Carrie Fisher, who was told that she needed to lose 35 pounds in order to portray Princess Leia again.

It’s been 38 years since Fisher last starred as Leia in 1983’s The Return Of The Jedi, and even though a key ingredient in J.J. Abrams’ plan for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was to mix new characters with the old, he had some physical requirements for the older actors. As Carrie Fisher explained to Good Housekeeping, "They don’t want to hire all of me – only about three quarters." She notes that, even at the age of 59, she faces the same problems she encountered as a young budding actress almost forty years ago, saying:

I’m in a business where the only thing that matters is weight and appearance. That is so messed up. They might as well say get younger, because that’s how easy it is.

Carrie Fisher admitted that she had a hard time shedding the weight, especially when it came to making sure she was eating properly. In order to lose the 35 pounds Fisher had to stop eating and exercise more, proclaiming, "There is no other way to do it!" Not that this made her any happier though. Because even though she’d become slightly more svelte she admitted that’s not who she is.

Fisher’s return to the Star Wars universe, alongside Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, Mark Hamill, and Harrison Ford, is one of the main reasons why anticipation is so high for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. J.J. Abrams’ decision to merge a new cast of characters with the established icons of the original trilogy has rejuvenated the franchise, especially in lieu of the critical damage that the prequels did.
The only way that we currently know Leia Organa differs from her incarnation in Return of the Jedi is that she is now referred to as General rather than Princess Leia. It's also been teased, via EW, that following the events of Jedi she is "a little more battle weary, a little more broken hearted." In fact, she’s even been described as "solitary." All will become clearer when Star Wars: The Force Awakens finally hits cinemas on December 18.

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