Mark Hamill posts moving tribute to Carrie Fisher ahead of new 'Star Wars' movie filming
From the moment they first appeared onscreen together in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia were a force to be reckoned with, possibly only rivalled by one other couple: Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher.
The two stars were together every step of the way in their Star Wars journey, lighting up the screen over the years, both together and separately, and forming a solid friendship along the way.
Now, with Star Wars: Episode IX - which begins filming at London’s Pinewood Studios on August 1, 2018 - Mark Hamill finds himself without his right-hand woman. With Hans Solo gone too, the 66-year-old actor is one of the last of the old cast to make it to the new film.
Recently, he took to social media to talk about his "bittersweet" return to the franchise without his friend. In a tweet on Sunday, the actor poignantly wrote of facing the last chapter without Carrie, stating that he was finding solace in the fact that the late actress would appear in the new film, using previously unreleased footage shot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
"It's bittersweet facing my final chapter without her-She is simply irreplaceable," he wrote. "I'm finding solace in the fact that she won't BE replaced & would love the worldwide outpouring of affection from those who loved her when they heard the news.
His heartfelt tweet was a hit with fans, who immediately began posting their own tributes to the star, who passed away at age 60 after experiencing a medical emergency during a transatlantic flight from London to Los Angeles in 2016.
"I’m so happy I have this. “Sometimes life gives by taking away.” - Carrie Fisher. I’m sad I never met her, but I’m happy that this is the closest I have. With death, I’ve always thought that this isn’t goodbye forever, it’s just farewell for now," wrote Twitter user @TurbidTG1, uploading an image of a signed Carrie picture.
He was joined by fellow social media user @Benbarber1980 who wrote "This is coming from my heart! I suffer from bipolar, severe depression, scrupulous OCD & ADD. She inspired me to do the best in my life & that I can succeed no matter what I go through! I love the fact she was an advocate to mental health awareness! I love her FOREVER!", and @rxbeccax "Carrie doesn’t just leave, she’s somewhere out there (in Galaxy far far away)."
Carrie's daughter Billie Lourd followed Mark in posting a tribute, enthusiastically posting a picture of her mother on Instagram after hearing the news that she would feature in the new film.
In addition, Episode IX director J.J. Abrams let out a moving statement about the beloved star, saying: "We desperately loved Carrie Fisher. Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast, or use a CG character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie, we have found a way to honour Carrie's legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII."
The news that Carrie will live on in the final movie has thrilled fans across the globe - and the dedication to her memory proves a rather important point: No one's ever really gone.