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Billie Lourd, George Lucas pay tribute to Carrie Fisher at 'Star Wars' panel

By
Wade Sheridan
Carrie Fisher (R) and daughter Billie Lourd attend the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on December 14, 2015. Lourd and George Lucas paid tribute to Fisher alongside other castmembers Thursday during Star Wars Celebration in Orlando. File Photo by Phil McCarten/UPI
Carrie Fisher (R) and daughter Billie Lourd attend the premiere of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" on December 14, 2015. Lourd and George Lucas paid tribute to Fisher alongside other castmembers Thursday during "Star Wars Celebration" in Orlando. File Photo by Phil McCarten/UPI | License Photo

April 13 (UPI) -- Billie Lourd, daughter of the late Carrie Fisher, paid tribute to her mother Thursday alongside George Lucas and others during Star Wars Celebration in Orlando.

The tribute concluded a star-studded panel celebrating the 40th anniversary of Star Wars: A New Hope which opened in theaters in May of 1977.

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"She played a part that was very smart, and she was having to hold her own against two big lugs, goofballs that were screwing everything up. She was the boss. It was her war and when I cast it, I said I want somebody young to play the part. I want somebody very young. When Carrie came in, she was that character," Lucas said of casting Fisher as Princess Leia.

"She was very strong, very smart, very funny, very bold, very tough, and there really wasn't much of a question. There are not very many people like her. They are one in a billion. For this particular part, it was absolutely perfect ... she wore a dress through the whole thing, but she was the toughest in the group," he continued.

"It really shows the level of her talent, and at the same time she was fun to be with. ... she was very challenging in terms of pointing out that certain pieces of dialogue were a little hard to say. She was brilliant and obviously we will all miss her, but she will always be the princess who took command and never backed down. Never was in jeopardy. She was always helping the other guys get out of the messes she created. We'll all love her forever and ever."

Lourd took the stage following a speech from Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy wearing a white dress that resembled the one Fisher wore in A New Hope.

"My mom used to say she never knew where Princess Leia ended and Carrie Fisher began," Lourd said onstage. "She was imperfect in many ways but her imperfections and willingness to speak about them are what made her more than perfect. My mom, like Leia, wasn't ever afraid to speak her mind and say things that might have made most people uncomfortable."

"She taught me by her own example, that the most evolved person is seemingly a contradiction — they are both the strongest and the most vulnerable person in the room. And that was her. That is Leia," she continued.

A tribute video was then presented featuring clips of Fisher from Star Wars alongside outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage during production on the films.

Also on hand during the panel to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars were franchise stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Anthony Daniels, Ian McDiarmid, Peter Mayhew, Billy Dee Williams, Warwick Davis, Hayden Christensen and Liam Neeson and Samuel L. Jackson who appeared in video form.

The group shared their experiences working on Star Wars and what the series has meant to them.

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