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Rey hugging Leia in The Rise of Skywalker

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After years of not-so-patiently waiting, the time is finally upon us. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is hitting theaters this week, following its world premiere last night. The pressure is on for director J.J. Abrams to deliver with Episode IX, wrapping up the nine-film saga that began with George Lucas' A New Hope. Carrie Fisher was brought back as Leia through unused footage from The Force Awakens, and Daisy Ridley recently opened up about how much she admired the late actress... gold bikini and all.

Daisy Ridley was able to work with Carrie Fisher on both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, although they didn't have a ton of screen time together. Ridley has been doing press ahead of The Rise of Skywalker's release, and spoke to how much she really looked up to the OG Star Wars heroine. As the young actress put it,

She said something about how she wore the gold bikini [in Return of the Jedi] so other people wouldn’t have to.’ I’m always appreciative for that; that I didn't have to go through that, because she really paved the way. She was the badass female in Star Wars, and she did all of that hard work and made way for me and Kelly [Marie Tran] and Keri [Russell] and Naomi [Ackie], amongst other people. And she did that with fun and humility, and she was so smart – all of the things that I admire in her. Not that I’m any of those things, but I guess it’s like holding yourself with the same level of… feeling like you are somewhere for a reason, and that what you have to say matters to people.

Well, that's certainly sweet. Daisy Ridley seems to have a great deal of affection toward Carrie Fisher, but on a personal and professional level. Princess Leia was a groundbreaking character, and Fisher's performance as her throughout the original trilogy made way for the rise of the various badass females that will make up The Rise of Skywalker.

Ahead of The Rise of Skywalker, Star Wars fans can re-watch the Skywalker Saga on Disney+. You can use this link for a free 7-day trial to the streaming service.

Daisy Ridley's comments to IGN make a great deal of sense, and shows how much she's reflected on Carrie Fisher's legacy since the late actress passed in 2016. In the same interview, she also regrets not telling Fisher just how much she meant to her, and asking all the nerdy little questions that plagued her about the original trilogy. Carrie was expected to return for The Rise of Skywalker in a major role, so how could Ridley have anticipated her sudden passing?

It should be interesting to see exactly how Leia's legacy is handled in The Rise of Skywalker. J.J. Abrams previously deemed it the most difficult aspect of Episode IX, although he's proud that the character and Carrie Fisher could both be honored. Although obviously it'll be a smaller role than the one that was originally planned for her.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will hit theaters on December 20th. In the meantime, check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

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