Whenever a beloved celebrity dies, there’s a bit of a Twitter arms race to pull out the most obscure and / or poignant piece of minutiae about them. It can be a nice, comforting way to collectively mourn, but it’s also bound to result in some viral mistakes.
Right now, a page of The Empire Strikes Back’s 1980 screenplay with handwritten notes is being circulated as proof of the late Carrie Fisher’s prowess as a script doctor, and her massive impact on the Star Wars franchise. As The Daily Dot pointed out yesterday, the photo is from J. W. Rinzler’s 2013 book The Making of The Empire Strikes Back, but the caption doesn’t mention Fisher. In fact, these notes were written by the film’s director, Irvin Kershner.
Fisher was an accomplished novelist and screenwriter who did mostly uncredited work cleaning up the scripts for beloved classics like The Blues Brothers, Sister Act, Hook, and The Wedding Singer, as well as on the Star Wars prequels. She’s also said that she and Harrison Ford tweaked their lines while filming the original Star Wars trilogy — usually when they didn’t think the written dialogue was natural enough. In a 2008 interview, she told the Phoenix New Times “by [Return of the Jedi], I was rewriting a little bit of my dialogue. George asked me to punch up one of the prequels.” Later that year, she told Newsweek she was no longer working as a script doctor because the nature of the business had changed: “Now in order to get a rewrite job, you have to submit your notes for your ideas on how to fix the script. So they can get all the notes from all the different writers, keep the notes and not hire you. That's free work and that's what I always call life-wasting events.”