Star Wars fans honor Carrie Fisher with lightsaber vigils

Star Wars fans honor Carrie Fisher with lightsaber vigils
‘Star Wars’ fans gathered in cities nationwide to mourn the death of actress Carrie Fisher, who portrayed Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan, in a way most fitting of the vaunted film franchise: They held a lightsaber vigil.

The first such vigil was hosted by the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas in Austin, Texas, where more than 200 people gathered to honor Fisher and her character.

“Attendees are encouraged to dress up as their favorite Star Wars characters, bring along as many lightsabers as you own, and invite your fellow Wookiees, Bounty Hunters, Ewoks, and Stormtroopers,” the theater said in a press release. “No lightsaber? Flashlights and glow sticks are also encouraged as we attempt to brighten the sky and say thank you to a woman who inspired us on and off the screen.”

The theater chain’s vigil spurred a similar event at Disneyland's Downtown Disney District in Anaheim, California. Hundreds of fans RSVPed ‘yes’ to a Facebook event created by Jeff Rowan.

“I decided to go ahead and make an event myself and see if anything would happen," Rowan told the Hollywood Reporter. "In all honesty, The Empire Strikes Back was the first movie I ever went to see in the theater and to this day Star Wars has played a huge part in my life. I hope Disney lets us in."

Fisher died Tuesday at the age of 60, days after suffering a massive heart attack on board a flight from London to Los Angeles. Her mother, actress Debbie Reynolds, died on Wednesday at the age of 84, reportedly from a stroke.

“That’s part of the role model of Princess Leia is she’s a strong character for women and little girls now,” Niki Powers, a fan who attended the vigil in Disneyland told the Hollywood Reporter. “It’s incredibly sad that Carrie Fisher has passed away, but Princess Leia’s legacy will live on.”

Alamo Drafthouse plans to host more vigils honoring Fisher in the coming days, as well as in memoriam screenings of some of the actress’ other films, including ‘When Harry Met Sally’ and ‘The Blues Brothers’. In San Antonio, Texas, the theater will accept donations for DBSA San Antonio, a non-profit supporting people with mood disorders. Fisher suffered from bipolar disorder and depression.