It might be a little too simple to credit Carrie Fisher with such a total sea change and view it more as a milestone in a continuum of progress. The reality was that women were changing across the cultural divide, and subsequently, so too, were attitudes about women and women’s roles in films. A whole slew of young filmmakers were emerging from Sixties and early Seventies influences and universities (Milius, Kasdan, Coppola, Scorsese, Lucas, Zemeckis, Spielberg, and, notably, James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow ) and they were more interested in playing with archetypes than stereotypes – hence the anti-type casting of a deep-voiced no nonsense Leia.
Certainly, Ms. Fisher was no slouch. Her mother, Debbie Reynolds had pioneered and achieved a kind of balance between America’s kid sister and the tough talking Unsinkable Molly Brown. Likewise, so too, did, Natalie Wood, Jane Fonda and even Karen Allen in Raiders of the Lost Ark offer fuller and more syncretically complex male/female or feminist protagonists.
In a story meeting at Lightstorm Entertainment Larry Kasanoff told me outright he and James Cameron had no interest in doing stories with male protagonists. Compare that to former Warner Bros. production chief, Jeff Robinov and his “…no more female lead characters” edict in 2007.
Carrie Fisher played the first truly kickass princess http://ti.me/2huwq7p