The One Skill Carrie Fisher Had That No One Really Noticed

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This galaxy and all other galaxies — both far, far away and slightly more nearby — seemed a little darker on Tuesday morning, when news broke that iconic actor Carrie Fisher, who was also a mental health advocate and writer, died of complications from a heart attack. Most of us know all about Fisher's obvious accomplishments — one doesn't become an iconic part of pop culture for being unknown. Yet at the same time, Fisher was quietly impacting culture in a big way with a skill that no one really noticed.

In 2015, The Mary Sue reminded some and revealed to others that for decades, Fisher had been doing the rounds in Hollywood not only as an actor, but also as a script doctor. This important and widely unacknowledged role serves to polish existing screenplays. The "doctor" will make suggestions or even structural changes to a script as a means of a good script punch-up. Other famous creators who have served as script doctors include Joss Whedon, Aaron Sorkin, and Quentin Tarantino.

According to Comic Book Resources, Fisher got her start in the writing business while working on Star Wars. Then, years later, she adapted her 1987 semi-autobiographical novel Postcards from the Edge into a screenplay which would star Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine. Fisher's work on the adaption led to her collaboration on more than a dozen of the most popular (and hilarious) movies of the '90s, from Hook to The Wedding Singer to Sister Act.

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Fisher also allegedly got into the script doctoring game for the Star Wars prequels-that-must-not-be-named, but those movies aren't her fault, guys. There's nothing anyone could have done. If Natalie Portman can't save a trilogy, no one can.

After the '90s (and the prequels-that-must-not-be-named), Fisher admitted to Newsweek in 2008 that the doctor was no longer in, explaining, "I did it for many years, and then younger people came to do it and I started to do new things. It was a long, very lucrative episode of my life. But it's complicated to do that. Now it's all changed, actually."


As if we needed any more reason to be devastated over the loss of the sassiest princess around, here comes this reminder of another reason to love Fisher. The bright side is now when you finish cry-watching every movie and television show she has ever appeared in, you can move on to the movies she helped write. May her unabashed hilarity bring you joy in this time of sadness.

Editor's Note: This article has been modified from its original version.