Princess Leia Organa is one of the most iconic female characters in Hollywood history. The strong and beautiful heroine, of Star Wars, was brought to life by actress Carrie Fisher. Princess Leia has been everything from a senator, to military leader, to a damsel in distress. However, there are some things you may not know about the Princess. Keep reading to find out some hidden truths about Princess Leia.
Leia Almost Didn’t Exist
George Lucas changed many concepts in Star Wars multiple times, until he reached his final masterpiece. One character he particularly toyed with was Luke Skywalker. George Lucas considered making Luke a Jedi General who was assistant to the King, a stout 18-year old name Luke Starkiller, or a FEMALE named Luka Starkiller. Had the 3rd option come to fruition, Princess Leia would have never been added to the script!
“Help Me Obi-Wan Kenobi, You’re My Only Hope”
Ironically, Princess Leia and Obi Wan Kenobi never actually meet. Obi Wan served with Bail Organa and this may be why she was able to trust him. Leia did see him, however, from afar, as she was escaping the Death Star, as Obi Wan Kenobi is about to battle Darth Vadar. However, Obi Wan was present for her birth in “Revenge of the Sith.” Had the 2 actually met, the plot line of the series could have been completely different.
A Response To Love
One of the most famous dialogues between Han and Leia is in “The Empire Strikes Back.” Right before Han is be frozen in carbonite, Leia says “I Love You,” which Han replies with “I Know.” However, his original scripted reply was supposed to be “Just remember that, Leia, because I’ll be back.” However, at the time of filming, Harrison Ford was not positive he would be back. Ford was the only actor that did not sign a 3-picture deal. Fisher was not told about the line change before filming.
Hair For The Heir
Princess Leia’s hairstyle is almost as iconic as the character herself. Her “cinnamon bun” hairstyle was created by “Omen” hairstylist Patricia McDermott. Lucas’s inspiration for the hairstyle came from a photo taken by Edward Curtis of native Mexicans. Fisher has reportedly said Lucas had her try 40 different styles before he picked one. Throughout the series, Leia has fashioned 10 different iconic hairstyles.
In “A New Hope,” Leia was held prisoner on the Death Star. Her cell number was 2187. This was chosen deliberately by George Lucas. The cell number is an homage to the short film “21-87,” directed by Arthur Lipsett. Reportedly, the film inspired George Lucas to make the film “THX-1138.” The film was released in March 1971, and grossed $2.4 million at the box office. However, the film was created from Lucas’s film “Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB,” which he created in 1967, while studying film at the University of Southern California.
Leia Doesn’t Need a Stunt Double
Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher once did their own stunt. In “A New Hope,” Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia are running away from Stormtroopers. Unable to find the controls (or may have been destroyed by Luke) to connect the a bridge, the two have to think of a way to avoid Stormtrooper gunfire. Luke uses a wire from his utility belt, and they swing across a large shaft to safety. Hamill and Fisher performed the stunt themselves and did it in one take!
Princess Leia Theme Music
Princess Leia had her own musical theme obviously titled “Princess Leia’s Theme.” The piece was composed by John Williams. It first appears in “A New Hope,” when she is captured by Darth Vader. It later plays when R2-D2 displays Leia’s holographic message for help, as well as when Obi Wan is killed by Vader. It is also played in “Revenge of the Sith,” when her adoptive parents, Bail Organa and Breha Antilles Organa, hold the newborn Leia.
Leia Gets A Boost
Princess Leia had no business telling Luke, as he rescued her from the Death Star, he was “a little short for a stormtrooper.” Carrie Fisher was only 5’1″ (1.55m). Harrison Ford is 6’1″ (1.85m), a whole foot taller than Fisher. This caused some issues while shooting, as the height difference did not look good on film. Therefore, Fisher sometimes had to stand on a box while shooting scenes with Ford.
A $96,000 Bikini
Carrie Fisher hated her iron bikini costume that she wore in “Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.” When she wrote for “Newsweek” in 1999, she said the bikini is “what supermodels will eventually wear in the seventh ring of Hell.” The costume was originally designed by George Lucas. Harrison Ford once told “Elle,” he didn’t like the costume, and did not understand why a Princess was wearing such a garment. In May 2015, it sold at an online auction $96,000.
Princess Leia: The Singer
In 1978, the made-for-TV film “Star Wars Holiday Special,” was released. The movie’s main storyline is Chewbacca and Han Solo visiting Kasyyyk, Chewbacca’s home planet to celebrate Life Day. The film also features other characters including Luke Skywalker, C-3PO, R2-D2, Darth Vader and Princess Leia. In the very last scene Princess Leia sings the film’s theme song, which is also set to the music of the Star Wars theme.
Princess Leia has delivered some of Star Wars iconic quotes:”Help me Obi-wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope,” “Governor Tarkin, I should have expected to find you holding Vader’s leash. I recognized your foul stench when I was brought on board,” “Aren’t you a little short for a stormtrooper?,” “I’d just as soon kiss a wookie!,” “Why, you stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking Nerf herder,” and last but not least, “He’s my brother.”
Signed Her Image Away
Carrie Fisher had a love-hate relationship with director, George Lucas. As she was young when she received the role of Leia, she did not realize the magnitude of “signing away her likeness” actually meant. George Lucas owned the licensing rights to all likeness of the characters and would therefore profit on any merchandise created. It is a mistake from which she has learned and accepted. She even bought some from William-Sonoma – little sticks of Princess Leia that you put in your cupcakes.
Leia Goes Undercover
Boushh was a male Ubese who worked as a bounty hunter. Boushh was killed after he tried to blackmail the Black Sun crime syndicate. Following his unknown demise, Princess Leia disguised herself as him, in order to infiltrate Jabba’s Palace and free Han Solo. The voice of Boushh, during Princess Leia’s impersonation, was voiced by Pat Welsh. Pat Welsh also voiced the character of E.T. in Steven Spielberg’s “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial.”
Carrie Fisher hated the wardrobe of her character Princess Leia. Many of her outfits, she was unable to wear under garments. Her nipples had to be taped down with gaffer tape during the filming of “A New Hope.” This was done after George Lucas reportedly told her “there’s no underwear in space.” However, some say he actually meant there’s “no nipples in PG movies.” It seems as though Lucas was trying to keep down the sexiness. However, this is very ironic as he later put her in the iconic metal bikini.
Cocaine Usage On Set
Carrie Fisher has admitted she used cocaine during the filming of “The Empire Strikes Back.” When promoting her stand up comedy show based on her autobiography, “Wishful Drinking,” in Sydney, she was quoted as saying ““We did cocaine on the set of Empire, in the ice planet.” After a long road of drug abuse she also admitted she was just doing what she could to get high. “Wishful Drinking” was published in 2008.
Carrie Fisher was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 24, the same year “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back,” was released. However, she didn’t accept the diagnosis until her late 20s, after a drug overdose and alcohol addiction. She was unsuccessfully treated with drugs, until she underwent electroconvulsive therapy. Even though the actress was struggling with the disease, it never showed through her performance as Princess Leia.
Peculiar Audition Process
The audition process to fill the role of Princess Leia was rather peculiar. George Lucas partnered with Brian DePalma and organized a joint audition for “A New Hope” and “Carrie.” Carrie Fisher beat out big name actresses like Karen Allen, Meryl Streep, and Jodie Foster for the role. The only actress both directors wanted to cast was Amy Irving. Irving went on the play the role of Sue in “Carrie.”
Like Mother, Like Daughter
In “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Princess Leia is promoted to General. Amongst her army, is Lieutenant Connix. Lieutenant Connix is played by the real Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd. She appears only for a moment but she is seen rocking similar “cinammon buns,” as her mother once did in the original Star Wars films. Billie will reprise her role of Lieutenant Connix in “Star Wars: Episode VIII.”
Princess Leia had her input for the Star War prequel trilogy. Carrie Fisher was not just known as the Star War actress around Hollywood, but also a well known “Script Doctor.” She helped edit and rewrite script for multiple hit films such as “Sister Act,” “The Wedding Singer,” “Lethal Weapon 3,” “Scream 3,” “Hook,” and many more. Fisher had worked as a script doctor for 15 years. Below is a picture of Carrie Fisher’s handwritten changes to her “Empire Strikes Back,” dialogue.
Debbie Gets Mad
Carrie Fisher clashed with her mother over the role of Princess Leia. When the original Star Wars was first produced, George Lucas did not have billions of dollars to throw around, and therefore the movie was on a strict budget. The American cast members and crew were flown to England in economy class, not first class. Her mother, Debbie Reynolds, called George Lucas to complain. George handed the phone to Carrie who simply told her mother she wanted to fly coach – along with some other derogatory words.
Not-So-Speedy, Speeder Bike Chase
The speeder bike chase on Endor between Luke, Leia, and a group of Scout Troopers was actually shot very, very slowly. The filming took place in the Redwood State Park in California. The park was about to be cut down for logging, so the crew was able to do whatever they liked. Camera operators walked extremely slowly and shot at three-fourths frame per second. When this is sped up to the normal 24-frames per second, it makes it seem like the characters are moving very quickly.
Too Much Sibling Love
Audiences still struggle with the kiss between Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker, in order to make Han Solo jealous, in “The Empire Strikes Back.” However, Carrie Fisher revealed that the actors did not even know Luke and Leia were siblings until the pre-production, of the last film in the original trilogy. She believes there would not have been a kiss had the actors known.
Behind The Scenes
In November 2016, Carrie Fisher released her book “The Princess Diarist.” The book was created from journals Carrie Fisher had wrote, when she was filming the original Star Wars and beyond. It is includes an intimate and revealing details of life on the set through the eyes of Princess Leia. She also goes into detail about her short-lived affair with Han Solo, better known as Harrison Ford.
More Than A One Woman Show
Princess Leia was the only named female character in the first two Star Wars movies, “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back.” However, in “Return of the Jedi,” another woman was added to the list for more than just a background role. The lucky female character was Mon Mothma. Mon Mothma was played by Caroline Blakiston. The list continued to grow after “Return of The Jedi,” with prominent characters like Rey, and Padmé.
Trash Compactor Catastrophe
During the infamous trash compactor scene with Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Luke Skywalker, actor Mark Hamill injured himself. Luke Skywalker was pulled underwater by a tentacle. However, during one of the takes, Mark was very determined to make his attempted drowning look real. He held his breath for so long that he popped a blood vessel in his eye. Filming of scenes that focused just on Hamill had to be delayed as a result.
Carrie Thought Star Wars Would Fail
When Carrie Fisher originally read the Star Wars script, she loved it, however, she also thought the movie would be a flop. She has also been quoted as saying she didn’t think she did a good job performing Princess Leia. Well, she was wrong. The original Star Wars grossed over $780 million at the box office worldwide. She also became one of the most iconic female figures in Hollywood history.
Carrie Fisher was only 19 when she was casted as Princess Leia in Star Wars. She had only 2 other acting gigs before “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope,” was released in 1997. She appeared in the role of a girl scout, alongside her mother Debbie Reynold, in the TV movie “Debbie Reynolds and the Sound of Children.” In 1975, she played Lorna in critically acclaimed movie, “Shampoo.”
Princess Leia & Han Solo Had An Affair
In Carrie Fisher’s memoir, “The Princess Diarist,” Fisher reveals she had an affair with Harrison Ford. The 3-month romance happened when Fisher was just 19 and Ford was a married 33-year-old father. The affair occurred while filming the original Star Wars in 1976. Also, in her memoir she notes Mark Hamill, who played Skywalker, almost discovered the affair after unexpectedly arriving at Ford’s apartment. At the time of the affair, Harrison Ford was married to Mary Marquardt.
Leia Always Gets The Last Laugh
Princess Leia only appeared in a small part, in the most recent Star Wars film “Rogue One.” However, she says the last line of the movie. In response to “What Is It They’ve Sent Us?,” she says “Hope.” The line is a perfect setup for the next movie “A New Hope.” This is the 3rd movie where she has the last line. She also has the sign-off in “Return of the Jedi” and “The Force Awakens.”
The Force Lives On
Star Wars fans everywhere were deeply saddened to hear about the Loss of their Princess. Carrie Fisher , unfortunately, passed at the age of 60 after suffering from a heart attack. However, many are joyed to be able to celebrate her memory with the next Star Wars movie. It has been reported that Carrie Fisher had finished filming Star Wars episode 8 before her passing.
“Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those who transform into the Force.” -Yoda