Carrie Fisher passed away yesterday, after reportedly having a heart attack or event on a flight from London to LA a few days ago. With little information on her condition in the meantime, this outcome wasn't unexpected, but still surprising to hear. Her strength and lively personality were well known traits and many thought it might see her through.
Something else unexpected - her mother Debbie Reynolds, passed away today. Perhaps this is not as surprising as it might appear. They were always connected emotionally and dramatically.
Obviously, Carrie Fisher's performance was central to Star Wars. There's no real need to restate what so many others have already said, far more accurately than I could, about that or the rest of her life. For me, she really was one of the ensemble cast. It might have been my young age, but I didn't ascribe additional importance to her role in the films. Certainly I became aware of her greater impact for others over time.
Due to prior plans, I saw Rogue One again yesterday afternoon. I'm reasonably sure much of the audience hadn't heard the news. For those that did, it appeared the emotional impact at the end was stronger than expected. Or at least stronger than I expected.
Oddly, the end of Rogue One, Tarkin's appearance, and the unfinished nature of Episode VIII bring up some pretty wide ranging possibilities for E VIII and future films. It will be interesting to see what happens and what people think one way or another. It will be much discussed.