“Bathed in Moonlight, Strangled by her own bra.” Carrie Fisher
Happy New Year, everybody. Is it still okay for me to wish my readers a happy new year, or is already too far into 2017? What is it today, the 7th already? Have the Ukrainians made it to the manger, yet? Or are still waiting around for that to happen before we can take our tree down? I never know. One year I took the tree down before New Years, and it felt great, but then I couldn’t eat perogies for a month after out of guilt, so was it really worth it?
I know it’s silly to blame an abstract concept like a calendar year on our misfortune, but man: 2016, am I right? Aside from that American election business and Brexit and our own absentee landlord premier, we lost a ton of celebrities that were near and dear to many of us.
2016 couldn’t quite let us go without snatching George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds from us before handing over the hood and scythe to the new year’s baby.
It was widely reported yesterday that Carrie Fisher, who had a joint memorial service with her Mom Debbie Reynolds, had her ashes placed in a giant novelty Prozac capsule. I saw a picture of this on social media and wasn’t sure if it was legit or if it was photo-shopped, but it’s starting to look like it happened. It’s unclear whether this was Ms. Fisher’s final request, or done by her family, thinking that she’d enjoy the final joke. From what I knew of Carrie Fisher, it sounds like she would approve.
It got me thinking about some of the other weird “final requests” that celebrities have made over the years.
Like Bela Lugosi. Poor old Bela. He made Dracula famous in that original 1931 movie, but then the poor son-of-a-gun tried to make legit movies, but all he would get were monster roles. Did you guys ever see “Ed Wood” by Tim Burton. Man, that was a GOOD film. I saw that a couple of times in the theatre when it came out. It even has Bill Murray, you guys, in case you were waffling. Johnny Depp too, back when people still liked him. Seek it out on Netflix or Crave or Pops or Shoops or Schlongs or Bidaleebangs or maybe your local library has a copy. Anyway, Bela Lugosi appears in that movie. I mean HE doesn’t appear, but Martin Landau plays him in that movie, and wouldn’t you know, after all the trying to escape Dracula, guess what? They BURY him in his freakin’ Dracula cape, after all.
Speaking of Johnny Depp, remember that time he played Hunter S. Thompson in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and befriended HST at the same time? Well, a few years after that, sadly HST took his own life, but one of his final requests was to have his ashes shot out of a cannon, and wouldn’t you know? Johnny Depp was able to arrange for that to happen. Speaking of HST, did you know that Bill Murray ALSO played the write in another movie? It’s true, and you are welcome. We are all connected through the Lord and Bill Murray.
Then you had the guy who played Scotty from the Star Trek movies. No, not Simon Pegg. He’s still alive, you guys. At least he was AT LAST CHECK. He’s in a great little movie called “Man Up” that was forced upon me a few months ago, but I am happy that I watched it against my will because it is a delight, based on no small part by the lovely and charming Lake Bell, BUT ALSO Simon Pegg who is lovely and charming and there is a delightful little dance floor scene where they dance to Duran Duran and well, just look for it on your streaming service. WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT SIMON PEGG, you guys. We are talking about James Doohan, the original Scotty, who sadly passed away about 10 years ago, and guess what? They didn’t just launch him out of a cannon, HST style, no. They stuck him on a rocket and launched him into space. I just hope that’s what he wanted. Can you imagine if his will said something like, “I’d like to be buried where there is lots of space, like in the countryside” and somehow the part about the countryside got missed and they just read the space part and now his loved ones are haunted by a vengeful ghost?
Then you’ve got a couple of the weird ones, where they mix ashes with stuff and do stuff with the stuff. Like supposedly when Tupak died, they mixed his ashes with MARIJUANA and then his friends and acquaintances smoked him up. I feel like something similar happened with the remains of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford but I can’t find a citation for that. Another that comes to mind is comic book writer Mark Gruenwald. He died suddenly of a heart attack at the TOO YOUNG age of 43. 43! That’s pretty much my age now, so I don’t know what to tell you guys. His final request was be turned into a comic book, so they took his ashes and mixed them with the ink that was used in the first printing of the graphic novel compilation, “Squadron Supreme”. There may just be a copy of it in my Mom’s basement, if I dig deep enough.
So there you have it, some of the weirder celebrity death requests. I guess in this context, sticking Carrie Fisher’s remains inside a giant Prozac shaped container isn’t the weirdest thing that we’ve seen. I don’t think I’ve still fully processed that she is gone, and it will probably not fully happen until they address the problem of Princess Leia in Episode 9. (I know Carrie Fisher was MUCH MORE than the actress who played Princess Leia, guys. Please refrain from emailing. That’s just my point of reference for her, and where it stings the most). She apparently filmed all her scenes for Episode 8 already, so it will remain to be seen if they need to do anything. Maybe her character dies in Episode 8, and there’s nothing to wrap up. But if she doesn’t, then the filmmakers have a bit of a decision on their hands. Do they use CGI? I really hope they don’t go this route. It worked for the three seconds you see Leia in Rogue One (SPOILER! But really guys, you know the movie is about how the rebels steal the Death Star plans, right? And Leia has them at the beginning of Episode IV, and so even I, who knew really nothing about Rogue One going into it, knew that at some damn point you were going to see Leia get those plans, otherwise, what was the point of it?), but could it work for a whole film? Doubtful, despite the fact that Grand Moff Tarkin was 100% CGI in Rogue One too (Spoilers AGAIN. Jesus!I might as well tell you that Vader’s in it too, and he is AWESOME. Dude lives in a castle, Dracula style [another Bela Lugosi ref] and he kinda kicks ass at one point). The next option is to write her out of the story altogether. I am less excited about this option, just because I like to think that there was a master plan started by J. J. Abrams in “The Force Awakens” that acts like a road map for the other two movies, and if that road map had Leia in all three films, then I think we should try to work with that, so yeah: unless the plan was to open Episode 9 with a big funeral scene ANYWAY, I’m not too stoked to see that. Which leaves us with a third option: recasting. Okay, wait. Stop yelling. I KNOW Carrie Fisher is Leia. Just like Mark Hamill is Luke and Harrison Ford is Han and Jack Purves is the lead jawa (deep cut), but hear me out: Wouldn’t you rather see Leia’s story told properly and to its fullest completion, rather than get artificially cut short? Maybe they could tweak the story so that the script limits some of her on-screen time, and do a lot of the “over the shoulder” business they used for Oliver Reed when he died mid “Gladiator” shoot, and maybe, MAYBE use just enough CGI that it makes sense? I know I am asking the impossible, because no matter what the creative team does, it won’t be what anyone wants, because what everyone wants is Carrie Fisher, strutting around, talking sass, and maybe, finally, just this once, can be given a light sabre and can how the frickin’ galaxy that she is a Skywalker and is strong in the force.
But that’s not an option for us.
Instead we have the memory of a princess, a warrior for mental health, a witty novelist, a brilliant script doctor, a hilarious sidekick, and an unrepentant shit disturber.
I miss her and I love her. She’ll always be royalty to me.