LOS ANGELES — Carrie Fisher, known to the galaxy as Princess Leia, had an indelible impact on the women who star with her in The Last Jedi (in theaters Dec. 15), the next epic film in the Star Wars franchise.
Fisher, who died last December after shooting her part, exploded to universal fame in 1977's Star Wars. Returning in 2015's The Force Awakens, now as General Leia, Fisher showed off the sardonic, wisecracking honesty she was known for offscreen.
“(I really look up to) how much courage it takes to truly be yourself when you’re on a public platform,” said Kelly Marie Tran, who is introduced as Rose Tico in The Last Jedi, during a news conference Sunday at the InterContinental Downtown hotel. “She was so unapologetic and so open.
"She'll always be an icon as Leia, but also as Carrie," Tran added. "What an example."
Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in 1977's classic 'Star Wars.' (Photo: Fox Video)
Daisy Ridley, who stars as Rey in the franchise, glimpsed many of Fisher's qualities in her daughter Billie Lourd, who'll be seen in The Last Jedi.
Fisher was "smart and funny and shameless, and Carrie bringing up a daughter who is all of those qualities, and then some — that speaks volumes to what she did, and in the spotlight,” Ridley said.
Laura Dern, who plays Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, said Fisher had an "endless and profound impact" on her as a young girl. That only grew watching Fisher up close.
“People speak about (those) who are brave or fearless," Dern said. "I’ve known, luckily, a few people that would hold those descriptions."
Director Rian Johnson (from left) and actors Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley attend the news conference in L.A. for the highly anticipated new 'Star Wars' movie, 'The Last Jedi.' (Photo: Charley Gallay, Getty Images for Disney)
Gwendoline Christie, who stars as Captain Phasma, recalled being struck by Leia, watching her for the first time at age 6.
"I thought, 'Wow, that character is really different,' " said Christie. "She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s courageous, she’s bold, she doesn’t care what people think and isn’t one to be told what to do."
Leia stayed with the 6-foot-3 Game of Thrones star.
"It was instrumental to someone like me, who didn’t feel like she fit that homogenized view of what a woman was supposed to be," Christie said. "You can celebrate yourself and be successful without giving yourself over or making a big compromise."
Other moments from the news conference:
• Director Rian Johnson explained his role in the Star Wars franchise in holiday terms: "I’m like the new boyfriend at Thanksgiving dinner."
• There just isn't loads of time to boo-hoo about the demise of Han Solo in The Last Jedi. "I'm sure we'd all feel sentimental," said John Boyega, who's back as Finn. But with the Resistance struggling for survival, "I can't think about Han at the moment."
• Domhnall Gleeson, who reprises his role as General Hux, didn't go to the staff screening for The Last Jedi. "I wanted to wait and see it with a huge crowd, with a lots of people losing their mind," he said. "But I heard people were losing their mind at the screening." Dern told him, "You missed something."
• Will there be Ewoks in The Last Jedi? "Depends on what drugs you take before you go in," Johnson joked.
Rey, Finn, Poe, Kylo and Luke are back in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi.' The latest installment in the 'Star Wars' saga hits theaters Dec. 15, but if you need a Jedi fix, scroll through to see photos from the movie. First up is the epic poster. Lucasfilm The new movie picks up where 'The Force Awakens' left off, with Rey (Daisy Ridley) on the island with Luke (Mark Hamill). Film Frames Industrial Light & Magic/Lucasfilm Fans of the late Carrie Fisher may be excited to see General Leia in the trailer. Fisher completed filming 'The Last Jedi' before she died in 2016. Film Frames Industrial Light & Magic/Lucasfilm If you're used to all that sand from the previous movies, get ready for a very oceanic landscape in 'The Last Jedi.' Film Frames Industrial Light & Magic/Lucasfilm The first trailer for the film showed audiences a battle on the planet Crait. Film Frames Industrial Light & Magic/Lucasfilm More of the battle on Crait. Film Frames Industrial Light & Magic/Lucasfilm Finn (John Boyega) is not in good shape at the end of 'The Force Awakens,' but it looks like something is happening here. Film Frames Industrial Light & Magic/Lucasfilm BB-8 and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) make a running entrance. Film Frames Industrial Light & Magic/Lucasfilm The Millennium Falcon is also back. Film Frames Industrial Light & Magic/Lucasfilm As is bad guy Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), who we learned has some familial ties to our heroes. Film Frames Industrial Light & Magic/Lucasfilm The first trailer for the movie was dark and intense, showing a lot of destruction. Film Frames Industrial Light & Magic/Lucasfilm And also some pretty thrilling battles. Film Frames Industrial Light & Magic/Lucasfilm It ended with an ominous message from Luke: "It's time for the Jedi to end." Film Frames Industrial Light & Magic/Lucasfilm
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