On-screen, they played one of cinema’s most treasured couples. But unbeknownst to fans of the Star Wars series, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford had their own real-life relationship to rival that of Han and Leia. And prior to her 2016 death, the beloved actress had one final request for her former beaux.
A long time ago in a film studio far, far away, there was an actress called Carrie Fisher. Born to famous parents – singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds – the future screen idol proved to be a precocious and gifted child. However, despite a long-standing love of poetry, she decided to follow her mother’s lead and seek out fame on the silver screen.
Throughout her career, Fisher made a name for herself via a host of artistic endeavors. Besides roles in the likes of When Harry Met Sally, she also became known as a script-doctor and an acclaimed novelist. Nevertheless, the star’s name will forever be linked with one film – 1977’s Star Wars.
Cast at the age of 19, the actress’ youth and inexperience certainly didn’t show in her performance as the strong-willed Princess Leia. On the contrary, Fisher’s character quickly became a cultural icon who is still looked up to today. Indeed, The Hollywood Reporter named Leia Hollywood’s second greatest heroine in a 2016 poll.
Alongside Fisher, the film also starred Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford – the latter of whom proved to have real screen chemistry with the actress. In the film’s 1980 follow-up The Empire Strikes Back, Leia and Ford’s Han Solo began a passionate love affair. And their relationship proved to be one of the saga’s most enduring elements.
For 40 long years after meeting on the Star Wars set, the pair maintained a close friendship. Moreover, they reappeared together as Han and Leia in 2015’s The Force Awakens. But unbeknownst to fans, their relationship hadn’t always been platonic. And in 2016 Fisher surprised everyone with a shocking revelation.
In her memoir The Princess Diarist, the actress detailed her affair with Ford. During a booze-drenched night celebrating Star Wars director George Lucas’ birthday in 1976, the pair first hooked up. And – despite her co-star being married and 15 years Fisher’s senior – they began a three-month romance.
“I was shocked by the fact that he fancied me,” Fisher confessed to The Guardian upon her book’s release. “I was a very insecure girl and had only had one boyfriend.” Nevertheless, she admitted that her attempts to overcome her self-doubt ultimately attracted Ford: “He perceived me as this very confident, experienced girl. I don’t think he had all the information!”
As their affair continued, Fisher’s feelings for Ford began to grow. However, her co-star then became distant and wouldn’t even mention their romance on the set. In the years that followed, the two remained firm friends, but they barely ever spoke about their intense liaison.
While he gave his consent for Fisher to publish details of their tryst, however, Ford himself remains taciturn on the matter himself. “I don’t really feel that it’s a subject that I want to discuss,” the actor told GQ in 2017. But one reason for Ford’s reticence is respect for his co-star, who sadly can longer tell her side of the story.
Shortly after the release of The Princess Diarist, Fisher went into cardiac arrest during a transcontinental flight to the U.S. Despite the efforts of flight staff and medical professionals on the ground, the star’s condition worsened. And four days afterwards, the 60-year-old actress passed away.
Of course, Fisher’s passing prompted an outpouring of sadness from fans and friends alike, and tributes soon flooded in. Indeed, Ford himself released a statement expressing his own admiration for Fisher. “Carrie was one-of-a-kind… brilliant, original,” the actor wrote. “She lived her life bravely… we will all miss her.”
Following Fisher’s death, many reporters began trawling through the numerous interviews that she had given during her lifetime in order to better understand the actress. And in the course of its search, ABC News discovered a quote from the star that was strangely pertinent. Not only did she reference her death, but Fisher also wanted Ford to be part of the response to her passing as well.
Back in 2010 – prior to the revelations about Fisher’s affair with Ford – she had taken part in the Rebel Force Radio podcast. After joking that she wanted her obituary to list her cause of death as “strangled by my own bra,” Fisher recounted meeting Ford at a party. And she had a most unusual request for him.
“I asked him if he would be in my death reel, and if he would sing,” Fisher revealed on the show. Although her former lover and co-star might not be known for his singing voice, the actress already had a song – albeit an entirely fictional one – picked out for him: “Melancholy Wookie.” “It’s just something I want,” she chuckled.
As she explained to the show’s hosts, Fisher got the idea from a 2010 Oscars tribute to director John Hughes. “Depending on when it happens, there’s a lot of people they can bring out,” she said. But when quizzed about what Ford singing would actually sound like, the actress joked, “I don’t think we’re missing much.”
In the end, though, the late film star didn’t quite get the send-off that she had in mind. While the Academy Awards did include Fisher in their In Memoriam section at the following year’s ceremony, Ford did not appear as part of the presentation. And his no-show on the stage did not go unnoticed.
“All I needed was Harrison Ford to sing for Carrier Fisher,” tweeted one fan. “She loved him so much.” Even Rebel Force Radio host Jimmy McInerney – though calling Fisher’s comments “flippant” – admitted to ABC News that he thought the star’s request was genuine. “That’s what she’s asking for,” McInerney asserted. “That’s what she said she wants.”
Despite falling to fulfil Fisher’s Oscars request, Ford has still taken the time to publicly celebrate his co-star’s memory. In fact, the actor paid tribute to Fisher at Mark Hamill’s Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony in March 2018. “I was really sorry that we don’t have the other member of our trio here to celebrate with us,” the Ford said. “But I feel her presence.”
With Fisher’s untimely passing, Hollywood lost one of its most fearless and honest voices. But through the efforts of her colleagues and fans, she will doubtless be remembered for generations to come. And though their brief liaison might have had an unhappy ending, we’re sure that Fisher will always have a special place in Harrison Ford’s heart.