Star Wars fans lost truly royalty when Carrie Fisher passed away, but one her co-stars lost a true friend on that day as well. Mark Hamill has written a lovely farewell to his friend that gives us a unique look at the early days of making the films. Nobody really had any idea just how big Star Wars would be, including the young actors who were in it. Hamill compares it to being in a garage band that hit it big. Their first inclination that this little project was going to be something big was when the two were touring together just before the premier of the film.
I remember we were out on tour right before the movie opened. By the time we got to Chicago, there was a crowd at the airport. I said, 'Hey look, you guys, there must be somebody famous on the plane." I was looking around to see who it might be. And then in the crowd I saw a kid dressed in a Han Solo vest. Then I saw girl dressed like Princess Leia. I said, 'Oh my God, look, Carrie, there's somebody dressed just like you. She's got the buns on her head!'
It very much sounds like a garage band that hit it big. One doesn't even realize that the crowd is there to see them until long after they see it. One can even imagine a couple of young actors realizing that the crowd is there to see them. It could have been exhilarating. it could have been terrifying.
Mark Hamill wrote a piece for The Hollywood Reporter in which he talks about the experience of meeting and working with Carrie Fisher for the first time. The two had dinner in London after they both arrived to begin filming together at Pinewood Studios. It's interesting to hear Hamill's perspective on things, especially all these years later. Hamill was five years older than the 19-year-old Carrie Fisher, but had little experience interacting with celebrities. Fisher was young, but, as the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, had grown up in that world. Still, from reading Mark Hamill's words it's clear that even at that young age Carrie Fisher was as open and honest a person as she ever was. It's easy to see how the two became such friends.
While the vast majority of their friendship appears to be one of fun and laughter it wasn't always so. Mark Hamill says that there were times when the two would get quite mad at each other, sometimes not speaking for long stretches of time. Hamill seems to appreciate the tougher side of the relationship as much as the fun side, saying that it made the relationship complete and not one-sided.
Carrie Fisher's blunt and honest demeanor made her fans feel like they knew as well as her friends did. Still, there's nothing quite like reading something heartfelt from somebody who truly knew her. The rest of us will get to say our goodbyes when we see General Leia one more time in Star Wars: Episode VIII.