It's kind of uncomfortable crying over losing someone you've never actually spoken to. And when Carrie Fisher passed away, and I cried to my sister in law and brother and told my co-workers that "today was rough for me," there was a part of me that felt like a complete loon. I didn't personally know Carrie. She and I didn't share any secrets. It should be weirder that her death shook me to my core. But it's not. And when Mark Hamill hosted a Carrie Fisher tribute at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando, and thanked the thousands of fans in the room who loved her dearly for helping him get through the loss, it suddenly didn't feel so weird after all.
Unlike most Celebration panels, which come complete with bells and whistles and secret footage to be explored, Hamill's "panel" was subdued. Just Mark and a couple thousand of his closest stranger-pals, bonding over their love of Carrie. Hamill called it "group therapy," and that's exactly what it was.
The beloved actor simply told stories, one billowing from the other — the time Carrie convinced him to wear her space suit while wearing a bozo the clown wig, the time he and Carrie made out and then broke out into a giggle fit, the fact that he falls asleep every night with an image of Carrie bathing in moonlight and giving him the middle finger.
But it wasn't the behind the scenes intel — as juicy as it may seem — that made the hour of hearing everyone's Space Dad telling stories so special. It was knowing that one of Carrie's dearest friends and, per Mark, her almost brother, wanted us to be there. He needed us. He wanted to share his sadness and joy and share in ours. He was thrilled to be surrounded by strangers who loved Carrie, so we could all be weird together.
So for that, Mr. Hamill, I thank you.