Star Wars Celebration 2017: Watch the Heartfelt Tribute to Carrie Fisher

Today kicked off the worldwide phenomenon that is Star Wars Celebration. This year the event in Orlando, Florida, the 40th anniversary since the debut of Star Wars: A New Hope, has been hailed as the greatest gathering and celebration of the franchise. Sadly, we lost one of the original cast members at the end of last year (December 27, 2016), Carrie Fisher.

Everyone at ReedPOP, Star Wars Celebration, guests, and attendees were committed to paying tribute to the legendary actress of the strong, iconic role as Princess Leia Organa (as well as General) and they did so magnificently. Star Wars’ YouTube channel has released the tribute presentation from today’s opening festivities. The video is filled with movie clips, behind-the-scenes footage, co-stars sharing their feelings on Carrie, original cast members (Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, and Peter Mayhew) reminiscing and more.

Prior to the video presentation, director George Lucas, Kathleen Kennedy (Lucasfilm president), and Billie Lourd (Carrie’s daughter) took a moment to remember the late actress.

(l.-r.) George Lucas, composer John Williams, Kathleen Kennedy, and the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra – Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017

“Carrie Fisher, I said … I said many times now, she really is a modern woman, and she isn’t just a woman where you put guys clothes on her and she becomes a hero,” Lucas struggled to tell the audience. “She was a princess, she was a senator, and she played a part that was very smart. And she had to hold her own with two big lugs, these goofballs who were screwing everything up. But it was her war. She was that character: she was very smart, very funny, very bold, very tough. There are not very many people like her. They’re one in a billion.”

Carrie’s daughter appeared in a white gown similar to the iconic look immortalized by Fisher in the original 1977 film. “She loved you because you embraced all of her,” said Lourd. “The strong soldier she was and the vulnerable side, who fought her own dark side.”

After honoring Fisher, the curtain raised to reveal composer John Williams appearing with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra to play “Princess Leia’s Theme,” the memorable music played throughout the franchise that that Williams created just for her and her character.

May the Force Be With You, Carrie.

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Jason Bennett is PopCultHQ's chief editor, a contributing writer, and comic book reviewer/reporter. One with the Force. Browncoats Unite! So say we all! Follow Jason on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @TahoeJBennett