To call the recent death of Carrie Fisher a tragic loss would be a complete understatement. The actress was a silver screen icon, and her unfinished work in the Star Wars franchise will become a major issue and point of contention in the franchise for years to come. However, despite the rough road ahead, no one can ever question the strength of Fisher's legacy. Star Wars newcomer Laura Dern recently opened up about Fisher's legacy, and she highlighted the loss of Fisher's unique voice in the world. Dern explained:

We put a lot of focus currently on what it is to be a female icon, what it is to use your voice, what it is to be comfortable in your own skin. She has always been one of the most extraordinary beacons, an original screen icon.

Laura Dern's recent comments to ET underscore the core appeal of Carrie Fisher's personality as an actress and a public figure. As Leia Organa AND as Carrie Fisher, the actress leaves behind a legacy of intense individualism, originality, and pride in the face of her demons. Fisher made no secret out of her struggles over the course of her life -- particularly with regards to substance abuse and mental illness -- and a large part of her legacy stems from the refusal to shy away from her strife. That legacy resonated with women all over the world, and Princess Leia has become a cultural touchstone of female empowerment and fierce independence in the four decades since Star Wars debuted.

Carrie Fisher Star Wars

Although Carrie Fisher tragically passed away at the end of December, she's not done carving out a silver screen legacy for herself just yet. The actress finished her work on Rian Johnson's Star Wars: Episode VIII before her death, which means that there is still one more feature that can build on the legacy of Fisher's most iconic character. Behind the scenes, rumors suggest that General Leia will have some intense sequences in the upcoming Star Wars movie, and we can think of no better way for this big screen legend to bid farewell than to steal the show one last time.

Of course, there's a more complicated and controversial aspect of Carrie Fisher's legacy that must also be addressed within the coming months. As CGI resurrection technology becomes more and more advanced as time goes by, the folks at Disney and Lucasfilm will have to consider whether or not they will choose to keep Leia around for scenes that Carrie Fisher did not shoot. As of right now, there are no official plans to use the technique on the late, great actress -- in fact, Lucasfilm issued a statement saying they will NOT head down that road with regards to Leia and Carrie Fisher -- but as the technology progresses, options like that do become even more feasible.

In the wake of Carrie Fisher's death, the importance of Star Wars: Episode VIII in the annals of film history has become more poignant than ever. The film will debut later this year on December 15. No matter what, Fisher's legacy as one of Hollywood's all-time greats has already been solidified.

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