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Princess Leia's cocaine use? Not the worst blow to Star Wars fans.

By Alexandra Petri

Princess Leia was doing cocaine during the filming of The Empire Strikes Back? Okay.

This might require some modifications to my Halloween costume. Keep the buns and the robe, but also lose a bunch of weight, become oddly focused, and keep strongly suggesting that we put our next rebel base on the Ice World of Hoth.

Why am I less bothered by this than I am by the fact that George Lucas photoshopped Hayden Christensen into the ending of Return of the Jedi?

That's the strangest part. So far, people have been less upset by the revelations Carrie Fisher has made about her life challenges during filming -- I saw and loved "Wishful Drinking," her one-woman show -- than by the other revisions to the Multi-Generational Modern-Day Myth that is Star Wars.

Why am I not bothered? Not because cocaine use isn't wrong and harmful (as Fisher told the AP this weekend, if Jon Belushi is telling you to stop, you've got a serious problem.) But because, in some ways, the ramshackle puppetry behind the scenes is the essence of the original trilogy. Remember the Death Star blowing up? That was six ping pong tables in the parking lot, with thousands of parts cannibalized from Battleship kits! Remember the Wampa Ice Monster? In the original release, anyway, that was a tiny hand-puppet! Landspeeder floating across the landscape? Vaseline on the lens! Princess Leia, a fantastic female heroine who could dish it out with the best of them? Carrie Fisher, on cocaine!

Did we notice? Did we care? Are we still so indignant that Star Wars lost Best Picture to Annie Hall that we refuse to watch Annie Hall on principle, even though this is causing us professional challenges?

Maybe that's just me, but No! No! Yes!

Any Star Wars fan worth his salt can recite a whole litany of the simple tricks and nonsense that produced the breathtaking galaxy we came to know and love. But once the credits crawled away into the vastness of space, we were transformed and transported. We ceased to care whether, for a frame or two, we could glimpse Kenny Baker inside the R2D2 suit. We shared the product, it mesmerized and captivated us, and we treasured it, watching it over and over again and filling our houses with life-size Darth Vaders and Chewbaccas.

We don't care what happened behind the scenes! Just don't mess with the movie. That's why the 1997 and 2004 re-releases produced lengthy hours of keening, and the impending 3D re-release makes us shudder. Please, no more tampering, George! We love you, but keep your hands away from the baby! This is like deciding that you want to make genetic modifications to your offspring after they've turned 30. It never looks much better than, say, Lisa Rinna's lips, or anything that's happened to Heidi Montag recently.

So the news about Carrie Fisher is the least of our problems. Ice on the ice world? Doesn't change the movie.

Revelations that the entire cast was shooting up during filming? Fine, as long as Han shot first!

The only thing we'd be really upset about is if Princess Leia had been using midichlorians. You shouldn't mess with that stuff.

By Alexandra Petri  | October 18, 2010; 10:54 AM ET
Categories:  Petri  | Tags:  Star Wars  
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