It’s hard to believe, but it’s already been over a year since the death of Carrie Fisher. Though she had finished filming all of her scenes for The Last Jedi, many wondered how her death would impact the movie, with fans assuming that it would be addressed at some point. There are some definite heartfelt scenes in the movie, but they were already set in place before the untimely death of Fisher. However, one scene in particular has gotten a lot of flak from hardcore Star Wars fans, but upon looking back at the scene again from a new light, reveals that there may have been a bigger tribute to the late great Carrie Fisher after all. There are SPOILERS for The Last Jedi ahead, read at your own risk.
In addition to being known as Princess Leia for her entire adult life, Carrie Fisher was an accomplished author and even helped punch-up scripts for some of Hollywood’s best known movies. In her 2008 book Wishful Drinking, which told the story of her one-woman show, the late actress had a strange request that she told her young friends for after she died. As it turns out, Fisher had a very specific way that she wanted her friends to tell others when asked how she passed away. Fisher explained.
“I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I wanted it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.”
Ok, obviously General Organa did not die after being strangled by her own bra, but she may have gotten the first part of her wish thanks to Rian Johnson and the cast and crew of The Last Jedi or quite possibly by sheer luck. The now infamous scene in the movie where Leia gets sucked out into space after the bridge of the command ship is attacked. Many have jokingly called this the “Leia Poppins” scene while getting terribly upset that Leia all of a sudden had Force powers and flew back into the ship. The silent, slow motion scene shows Carrie Fisher floating in space, bathed in moonlight before coming to and using the Force to re-enter the Resistance ship.
When thought of that way, it completely turns the scene on its head and becomes a better tribute to Carrie Fisher than anyone would have known, except for those who were truly close to her. It’s almost like an “inside” tribute that was there for the many lives that Fisher had personally touched over the years. One of those lives was clearly Rian Johnson, who worked closely on the script with the late actress and script guru. After all of the controversy surrounding the scene, it may finally be put to rest after looking at it as one of Carrie Fisher’s last wishes. Only it wasn’t done after the fact at all. As for Fisher’s request to be “drowned in moonlight,” Johnson acknowledged the coincidence, adding that his team decided “not to change (the performance]) even though it had some images like that, some moments’ they ‘had to take a breath and say, ‘This has a whole extra layer of context now.'”
Rian Johnson has gone out of his way to help explain some of the decisions that he made for The Last Jedi, but they all seem to have to do with story and character choices. It will probably be some time before Star Wars fans begin to ask about the powerful silence paired with beautiful imagery that the movie contains, which is a shame, but this is a Star Wars movie, after all. It might be time for a repeat visit to the theaters to go re-examine that one controversial General Organa scene and the rest of her scenes that carry an additional emotional weight after her death. This story contains quotes from Rian Johnson that were first published by The Huffington Post.