salon:

The most breathtaking moment in the new trailer for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” trailer doesn’t involve explosions or lightsabers or ominous references to the Dark Side. It’s an eyeblink-long shot of Princess Leia herself, Carrie Fisher, in the embrace of Harrison Ford’s Han Solo. It’s a moment of a weary-looking woman with graying hair and lines on her face. Holy science fiction, Hollywood — somewhere, in a galaxy far, far away, a grown woman has been given permission to look like a grown woman. I want to go to that planet!

Fisher, who turns 59 this week, has for years been a sardonic and brutally honest chronicler of her own struggles with addiction, bipolar disorder (including a hospitalization just two years ago), and weight — all while working in an industry that isn’t known for being easy on even seemingly perfect women. A few years ago, when the vicious cracks about Fisher resembling Jabba the Hut (actual sexist BS trolling entertainment story) were hitting peak cruelty, she became a spokesperson for Jenny Craig.

But even as she dropped fifty pounds — and seemed to hint at some other changes when she said of her fellow “Star Wars” cast members that “We all look a little melted. It’s good to see other melted people” — she’s maintained her sense of humor and realism. As she observed a few years ago, “I swear when I was shooting those films I never realized I was signing an invisible contract to stay looking the exact same way for the rest of my existence.”

Carrie Fisher’s older and wiser character tells us maybe we’re ready to let actresses age