The first “Star Wars” installment in a decade has largely been met with jubilation, not least because Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher have reprised their classic roles as Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess – ahem, General – Leia.
Yet some longtime fans were stuck on a detail that shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone:
The actors have aged.
Or, to zone in on the preoccupation, Fisher has aged – and allegedly “not well.”
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What this means is anyone’s guess.
When the daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds appeared on the big screen in “Return of the Jedi” wearing nothing more than a gold bikini, she instantly became the star of many a teenager’s fantasies.
But that was more than three decades ago, and Fisher is now 59 years old.
Not to mention, the latest iteration of Princess Leia is ostensibly no less formidable than the character that fans remember. She commands an entire resistance movement, after all, and manages to do so while remaining devoted to her family.
Yet, discussion of Fisher’s weight has abated little since “The Force Awakens” premiered earlier this month. The actress, known these days for her wry repartee and Instagram-famous dog, shot back at her critics on Tuesday:
“Please stop debating about whetherOR not (I’ve) aged well.unfortunately it hurts all3 of my feelings.My BODY hasnt aged as well as I have. ...”
She also retweeted comments from supporters, including one who said, “Men don’t age better than women, they’re just allowed to age.”
Another posted an image mimicking the “Star Wars” marquee opening that reads: “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. ... Someone else might have given a (expletive).”
Fisher let a couple of her dissenters have their say on her feed, too. She retweeted one “TomRoberts983a” who said, “So you want the money & adulation that comes with being a famous actor but not the criticism. Whoever told you life was fair?”
This is the latest in a string of comments Fisher has recently made about being an older woman in Hollywood.
In the first week of December, she lamented both that she had to lose weight for “The Force Awakens” and that it’s difficult for actress over 40 to find work.
“They don’t want to hire all of me – only about three-quarters!” Fisher told Good Housekeeping, which reported that the actress was “pressured” to lose 35 pounds.
“Nothing changes, it’s an appearance-driven thing. I’m in a business where the only thing that matters is weight and appearance. That is so messed up. They might as well say get younger, because that’s how easy it is.”
Her co-star Hamill, 64, told Rolling Stone that he also had to diet for his role.
A few days later, Fisher told “Good Morning America’s” Amy Robach that there was no question of whether she would return to “Star Wars.”
“I’m a female in Hollywood over the age of, let’s say, 40. We could also say 50,” she said. “You don’t have to ask if you want to work at that age.”
With the exception of Meryl Streep, 66, and Halle Berry, 49, middle-aged women and older are underrepresented in entertainment.
According to The Washington Post’s Danielle Paquette, the 100 top-grossing films of 2014 starred no women over 45. A University of Southern California analysis found that actresses of all ages were “dramatically outnumbered” by men in movies – a state of affairs likely reinforced by Hollywood’s predominantly male writers, directors and casting directors.
Who are the people criticizing Fisher for her appearance in “The Force Awakens”?
If Twitter is any indication, they are, by and large, men.
“Carrie Fisher is this angry, Loud mouth, fat woman now.” – Dennis
“Princess Leia got fat” – ManJuggs
In response to these opinions, one user pointed out that double standards of physique exist not only between men and women, but also women and robots.
“They made Carrie Fisher drop all that weight for Star Wars yet the new droid gets to be a fat round ball.”