George Lucas delivered a touching tribute to Carrie Fisher during a 40th anniversary panel at Star Wars Celebration, the franchise’s official fan convention. “She could hold her own against anything,” Lucas said of the late actress and her turn as Princess Leia. “She wore a dress through the whole thing, but she was the toughest one of the group.”
Lucas spoke about casting Fisher in what would become her career-defining role, saying, “It was her war, and when I cast it, I said I want somebody young to play the part. I want somebody very young. When Carrie came in, she was that character. She was very strong, very smart, very funny, very bold, very tough, and there really wasn’t much of a question. There are not very many people like her. They are one in a billion. For this particular part, it was absolutely perfect.”
Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd also appeared at the end of the panel, donning a dress not unlike something Princess Leia would have worn. Lourd touched on the ways Fisher embodied the same characteristics that defined Leia, as well as how much the Star Wars movies and fan community meant to her. She also passed along the three most important things she learned from her mother – chief among them, the “You’re my only hope” message hologram Leia delivers to Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope.
After reciting the monolog word-for-word, Lourd continued, “Secondly she taught me that if life isn’t funny then it’s just true, and that is unacceptable. And finally, she taught me by her own example, that the most evolved person is seemingly a contradiction – they are both the strongest and the most vulnerable person in the room. And that was her. That is Leia.”