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While there is an astronomical amount of enthusiasm about Star Wars: The Last Jedi, it is somewhat bittersweet tempered by the loss of Carrie Fisher. Knowing this is her final performance as Princess Leia will cast a feeling of melancholy over what already looks to be a very emotional film. Carrie Fisher died nearly a year ago, and her loss still weighs heavy on the fan community and her fellow actors, perhaps none more so than Mark Hamill. The last Jedi himself spoke to Ellen Degeneres about the loss of Carrie Fisher, saying:
She's like an irreplaceable member of the family, but the whole world feels that way. We are all sort of mourning her. I always think of her in the present tense. I don't think of her in the past. Any time you were with her it was just fun.
Doing press for Star Wars: The Last Jedi and coming up on the anniversary of Carrie Fisher's death has no doubt been difficult for the actor and put her at the forefront of his mind. Losing someone who is family or like family is something that is insanely difficult to adjust to. You don't forget that the person is gone, but they are so a part of your life and experience that your natural instinct is to want to see them and talk with them, only for your mind to snap you back into the reality that you can't. Mark Hamill's comments on The Ellen Show echo the sentiments we have always heard about Carrie Fisher being a joy to be around and having an incredible zest for life, making the loss all the greater. It is indeed a worldwide tragedy when a beloved public figure passes away. Even when you don't really know someone, growing up with him or her on your TV screen creates a unique connection that never really diminishes.
Although Princess, and now General, Leia will be in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, we may never see her reunited on screen with Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker. Hamill has spoken in the past about what a missed opportunity it was to have the core three from the original Star Wars trilogy never reunite in the new films. But unfortunately, life in all galaxies, real or fictional, rarely works out the way we plan. For the Star Wars universe, there are still a lot of questions about what will happen with Leia in this film and, if the character survives, how they will address her going forward. She was expected to have a large role in Episode IX, but Disney has already ruled out re-creating her using CGI. Whatever the company decides to do, I'm sure they will send her off right.
Bring expert tear duct control or at least a few tissues with you when you see Star Wars: The Last Jedi, in theaters on December 15. You can pre-order your tickets for opening weekend now.