Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

James Blunt Offers New Insight on Weight Loss Pressure Carrie Fisher Felt for ‘Star Wars’

Musician James Blunt has offered new insight into the severity of the pressure Carrie Fisher felt to lose weight to reprise her iconic Star Wars role, suggesting it may have even contributed to her passing.

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Fisher originated the role of Leia Organa in the Star Wars franchise, starring as the beloved space princess in the original trilogy between 1977 and 1983. Along with Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill, she helped lay the foundation for one of the most successful and beloved franchises in cinematic history. However, even legendary actresses like Fisher can’t escape Hollywood’s persistent sexist and ageist attitude towards women. Women in the industry are constantly pressured to lose weight and live in fear of being pushed out of the industry for aging. The same was true for Fisher, who was told to lose weight upon booking the role at the tender age of 19.

When the Star Wars franchise was revived in 2015, Fisher was offered the chance to reprise her iconic role, but under one condition: She reportedly had to lose a staggering 35 pounds. She once stated that the franchise only actually wanted “about three-quarters” of her back. Such weight loss demands are always unhealthy and dangerous, but they were especially egregious and confounding in this instance. Fisher was doing the franchise an enormous favor by reprising her beloved role, as simply no one else could’ve played Leia in the sequel trilogy. Yet, the studio somehow felt it had the right to make her return contingent on weight loss. Additionally, Fisher was nearly 60 at the time, significantly raising the difficulty and risk factor in aiming for such unrealistic weight loss goals.

Now, Blunt is revealing just how much of a toll the impossible demands took on Fisher.

James Blunt on the weight loss pressure Carrie Fisher faced

While Fisher spoke about the extreme weight loss goals the Star Wars franchise set for her and slammed the industry’s double standards for women and men, her friend Blunt suggested the pressure was even more severe than previously thought. When Fisher passed away, a toxicology report revealed she had several drugs in her system, with her daughter, Billie Lourd, issuing a statement acknowledging her mother’s struggles with substance abuse and mental health.

Recently, Blunt suggested that her substance abuse may have been exacerbated by the weight loss pressure she felt. He was with Fisher the day before her passing, and while she “was really on a high and a positive” note over her return as Leia, he noted that the studio “had applied a lot of pressure on her to be thin.” He suggested she began using drugs for weight loss, stating, “She really put a lot of pressure on herself, started using drugs again, and by the time she got on the plane, she had effectively killed herself.” Although her official cause of death was cardiac arrest, Blunt pointed to the toxicology report as evidence that “she’d been really mistreating her body.”

It’s impossible to know if the weight loss pressure was really what led to Fisher’s substance abuse and subsequent death, but it’s very plausible it was a contributing factor. What’s more surprising than the potential role the weight loss pressure played in Fisher’s passing is that the Star Wars bosses who set the ridiculous standards seemingly didn’t foresee any negative consequences. The actress’ substance abuse struggles weren’t a secret, she had written about them in her memoirs and autobiographical novels and spoken about them publicly. How do executives and studios really not think of the potential danger in setting more impossible standards for actresses already struggling with fame and pressure?

As studios continue putting potentially fatal weight loss pressure on women, one must ask them if it’s truly worth it. Wouldn’t having women like Fisher appear in franchises and movies as their whole selves be preferable in every way to having them appear in a posthumous role?


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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.