Fisher inspired a generation of girls and women to push the limits and explore the unknown.
On Dec. 28, 2016, French astronaut Thomas Pesquet tweeted a tribute to the late Carrie Fisher.
The message, coming just a day after Fisher's death, was simple: "Princesses shouldn't be passive, girls have character & ability to lead. The world needs them to fulfill their potential — thanks, Carrie Fisher."
When "Star Wars: A New Hope" was released in 1977, NASA had already landed men on the moon, but a woman had yet to travel to outer space.
Sally Ride wouldn't make history as the first woman in space until June 1983 (coincidentally, one month after the release of the final installment in the "Star Wars" original trilogy). Princess Leia, while fictional, gave girls everywhere something to aspire to and helped fill the void left behind when "Star Trek" and Nichelle Nichols' iconic portrayal of Lt. Uhura had gone off the air almost a decade earlier.