Hello and welcome to a very special edition of Buried Credits we have dubbed “Star Wars Month”! For three weeks in January we will be exploring the films of the three main actors of the original Star Wars trilogy! Buried Credits, a column that deep dives into the IMDB pages of favorite actors, directors, and writers to find their lost, forgotten, or unknown film and TV credits, continues this week with works featuring Carrie Fisher!
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Just like with the end of Mark Hamill’s Buried Credits I figured it would be fun to look into Carrie Fisher’s performance in one of the Star Wars films. Today’s film is going to be the second in the original trilogy, The Empire Strikes Back. Prior to starring in Star Wars A New Hope, Fisher had only been in one film, the 1975 movie Shampoo, and a tv special in 1969 starring her mother Debbie Reynolds. With the script for the original Star Wars, Fisher felt that it would turn out to be a wonderful movie, though she didn’t think many people would agree at the time. She ended up right, of course, as now the franchise has become arguably the biggest franchise of all time.
The Empire Strikes Back has us following the trio from the first film three years after the destruction of the Death Star by last weeks Buried Credits star Mark Hamill. In that time gap, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker have climbed the ranks in the rebellion to be much more than farmboy and scoundrel (though the latter is still very much a scoundrel). Leia has also changed in terms of what we see in the film; obviously she was always part of the rebellion, but instead of seeing her primarily as the damsel in distress (albeit a badass one) from A New Hope, we now see her as a more tactical military leader in the rebellion as she helps fight off the Empire at the rebel base on Hoth. We also get to see her slowly breakdown that hard emotional shell of hers as Han tries to put the moves on her throughout this entire film.
Carrie Fisher is beautiful to watch in this film. Coming from a much more badass damsel in distress character in the first film to closed off emotional leader is really interesting. Some could argue that her obliviousness in terms of character as well as acting against Harrison Ford’s Han Solo constantly coming on to her is poor acting, but I say it perfectly fits the character of a woman who has grown up knowing only war, rebellion, and politics. She has no time for romance in her life as saving the galaxy is so much more important, and Fisher flaunts this easily. It’s easy to get annoyed at her acting while she barely is able to portray any emotions throughout the film, but that’s exactly what Fisher needed to do. The only time we really see true genuine emotion outside of militaristic stoic and sarcastic anger is when her, Han, Chewbacca, and C3PO meet Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) and she reacts perfectly to his suave and flirty nature which plays perfectly against his character. Fisher’s acting within these scenes actually makes Williams portrayal even more believable, so not only is Fisher doing an amazing job herself, but she’s also making other actors better at their job as well.
All in all, even when trying to nitpick against one of my favorite film series of all time, I can’t really come up with a single time she falls flat. In fact, after watching through five other movies starring Carrie Fisher I feel like I can appreciate her acting and the character of Leia in Empire even more than I ever have before. Fisher is a hands down wonderful actress and the Star Wars films are just one example in many.
As we say farewell to our loving space princess, author, mental health activist, and so much more Carrie Fisher, we move on to arguably the most famous of the trio, our loving scoundrel, Harrison Ford!