For long time fans of Star Wars, The Last Jedi is a bittersweet film, because it will be the last one Carrie Fisher will be in. Her character, Leia, was the first ultimate bad ass princess, who had to self rescue when Han and Luke showed up and bumbled their way into trouble and back out again. But with so many emotions riding on Leia's last time in the galaxy far, far away, what are Carrie Fisher's The Last Jedi scenes like? Are they good? Bad? Will they make you cry, or allow us to let go of her in peace? WARNING: Spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi follow.
Carrie Fisher's first scene comes almost immediately after the opening crawl finished. The resistance are evacuating their hideout (from where Rey left to find Luke) and Poe is the distraction to help them get away. But instead of following orders, and keeping his team alive and safe, Poe directly ignores a stated order by Leia and has his team run at the dreadnought. They succeed in taking it down, but at the cost of all of their bomber ships, and most of Poe's flight crew.
In response to this insubordination, Leia slaps Poe across the face when he reports to her on the bridge and demotes him. One day, she says he'll learn the solution isn't just to jump in an X-Wing and blow stuff out of the sky.
The next time we see her, Leia's now much smaller fleet has new problems. They've discovered themselves in a Battlestar Galactica type situation, where if they jump through lightspeed, they'll be tracked. The First Order is going to wear them out of fuel very quickly. As they race to at least get out of cannon range, Kylo Ren leads a bomber run at the Resistance fleet, which winds up destroying the bridge of the main ship where Leia is standing, flinging her out into space.
But. Leia. Doesn't. Die.
Instead she grabs a hold of the Force, just as her body begins to freeze and pulls herself back through the rubble of the now destroyed part of the ship and to the door, where Poe is there to pull her in, and get her to medical.
It is quite the moment, with gorgeous visuals to boot. Unfortunately, it also sidelines Leia for the next third of the film, as she spends it in a coma recovering from near death. We don't see her again until after Poe has staged an ill-planned mutiny on her replacement Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern), and Leia has to blast her way in (all in white, like she wore in A New Hope) to get them to stop this nonsense.
During the attack on the transports, Leia mostly takes a background to Poe staring out the window as they lose pods left and right. It's not until Holdo's brave sacrifice that she takes over, guiding the final surviving pods to land. Once the team is safely on Crait, she insists they protect whatever they have left.
Leia's final major scene is with Luke, who comes to visit her first, handing her Han's dice, before facing down Kylo. Leia seems to have lost hope by then, seeing her son as gone, her husband as gone, and the spark of the rebellion about to be snuffed out. But when Poe recognizes this is their moment to escape on the Falcon, instead of jumping in an X Wing and shooting things out of the sky, Leia is firm with him.
What are you looking at me for? Follow him!
When Luke passes, far away on Ahch-To, Leia stops, the same way she did when Han died. Her brother is gone. Rey felt it too. Leia smiles. Rey fears the worst, with so little left and Luke having passed away. But Leia smiles, "We have all we need right here."
And we have all we need right here of Carrie Fisher, to remember her at her best and her strongest, even as Han's dice fade away too.
Let the past go. Burn it, if you have to. But the memories of those we fought to save because we loved them will always be with us.