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Read this: Billie Lourd talks about growing up with Princess Leia

Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage (Getty Images)

It’s been quite a week, so if you’d like to wrap it all up with a good cry, have we got the read for you. Brave Billie Lourd wrote an essay for Time magazine: “Billie Lourd on Becoming the Keeper of Princess Leia” in advance of the release of the final Star Wars film. While the loss of Carrie Fisher still stings almost three years later, we can only imagine how painful it was for Lourd to write about her mom, beloved around the world for a litany of reasons, including her iconic Star Wars role.

But as she explains it, when she was a kid, she resented Star Wars. She thought the movie was too loud, and she didn’t get what all the fuss was about. But when she eventually watched the whole film, she recounts, “staring at the screen that day, I realized no one is, or ever will be, as hot or as cool as Princess F-cking Leia.” Attending Comic Con with her mother after that, she met people with tattoos of Leia, who had named their children after her, who held Leia up like the impossibly strong hero that she is. Says Lourd:

I realized then that Leia is more than just a character. She’s a feeling. She is strength. She is grace. She is wit. She is femininity at its finest. She knows what she wants, and she gets it. She doesn’t need anyone to defend her, because she defends herself. And no one could have played her like my mother.

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Star Wars goes on to have even more of a special place for Lourd and her mother after she made her film debut in 2015’s The Force Awakens. Her Lieutenant Connix even had a hair style reminiscent of Princess Leia’s. On that set, Lourd realized that her destiny was to be an actor, like her mother and grandmother (Debbie Reynolds), tying Billie and Carrie closer together.

After Fisher’s death, director J.J. Abrams asked Lourd if she would return for The Rise Of Skywalker—which would be her first Star Wars movie filming without her mom “I knew it would be one of the most painful, difficult things I would ever do, but I said yes for her—for my mom.” Lourd concedes that after resenting Princess Leia in her earliest years, she’s now the gatekeeper of that legacy: “Initially, Princess Leia was kind of like my stepmom. Now she’s my guardian angel. And I’m her keeper.” Yeah, we still can’t get through that last sentence without tearing up. Read more over at Time today.

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Gwen Ihnat

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.