Val’s Toy Chest- Carrie Fisher 1956-2016

leia

Last week’s column was my year-end favorite figures list and one of the figures on that list was the recent Star Wars Black Series Princess Leia Organa, I mentioned in the article Carrie’s- at the time– current medical status. After the issue went to press, Carrie Fisher passed away at the age of 60, she drowned in moonlight and was strangled by her own bra. This column is my tribute to her and her most well-known character.

Growing up, I was raised mostly on Superheroes with the occasional science fiction like Star Wars thrown in. I remember watching and rewatching the original Star Wars  and loving all the characters, but especially Princess Leia. I don’t remember watching Empire Strikes Back much as a child, but I really got into Return of the Jedi.  Due to my love of the  (then) 1st and 3rd movies, I got into the Kenner action figures. I had no less than three distinctive Leia action figures during the 80s, including New Hope Leia, Leia in her Boushh disguise and Endor Leia in her poncho from the Speeder Bike sequence. It’s quite possible that Leia as Boushh was my first ever female action figure but I don’t really remember if that was truly the case. My adoration of the Leia character probably came from her sass, her regal presence and her no-nonsense attitude. All I know is that I’ve always loved strong female heroes and Princess Leia was no slouch in that department.  Though there was a lull in my love of the Star Wars franchise from the mid-80’s thru the early ’90’s, I always did appreciate the character.

1995 was the first year that Star Wars lived again on the toy shelves. And there I was again collecting Leia all over again. This time however, I made sure to get figures of Leia that I never had before, from updated versions of Bespin and Hoth Leias to brand new figures like Jabba’s Prisoner and Ewok Celebration, Leia was finally getting all of her varied looks included in this more comprehensive toyline.  Kenner folded into Hasbro, but the toyline continues to this day with both the original size figures and the larger 6″ figures. Princess Leia has been a mainstay in the 6″ line with three figures under her belt to date. Prisoner Leia was released during one of the first waves a few years back and was the subject of controversy when a parent complained about her sexy outfit.(He must have NEVER seen the film, but I digress…) This was followed up by the Boushh figure which made my Top 5 of 2015 and now the current New Hope Leia.

It’s difficult writing about Carrie Fisher’s death because in some ways I haven’t fully grasped it yet. I’ll share an anecdote with you about why you shouldn’t take anything for granted. As you may have heard, Carrie released a book within the last couple of months. She then did a signing at an NYC bookstore that I refuse to support and I passed up the chance to meet her, figuring I’d catch her at her next public appearance, whether it be at a comic con or another future book signing not at the aforementioned bookstore. In hindsight, I should have made an exception, but who knew that we’d lose Carrie shortly after that signing. I can’t beat myself up too much as you can’t change the past, but it is a lesson to never squander an opportunity when it presents itself to you. It’s also tough because Carrie was my mother’s age and I don’t need to face her mortality yet either. I’d also be remiss to not mention the tragedy of Carrie’s mother, Debbie Reynolds, dying the day after her daughter’s untimely death.

I don’t want to end the column on a downer, so we should celebrate Carrie’s legacy through her films, her books and through her iconic heroine which influenced an entire generation of children, male and female to reach for the stars.  I received the Leia Hot Toys figure for Christmas and now I have an incredibly accurate figure of one of my very first on-screen heroines that I will cherish forever. Thank you, Carrie Fisher for sharing your wit, your sass, and your talent with the world. May you rest in peace.

 

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