From January to December, the year that just wouldn't quit forced many of us to say goodbye to the icons, the legends, the names and faces who, were famous yes, but who also had the power to influence millions. This holiday weekend alone claimed two greats, George Michael and Carrie Fisher. And while every death is sad and heartbreaking for the family and friends who knew them, the passing of Fisher hit me hard. Like any self-proclaimed nerd, I loved Carrie as Princess Leia growing up, perhaps superficially. It wasn't until my older Star Wars marathoning (the last of which just days before news broke of her heart attack en route to LAX), that I came to appreciate the role, and Carrie's part in it, in a whole new light. 

Carrie could be considered a "geek boy sex symbol" - a notorious metal bikini helped secure that one - but she was also one of the first women to break into the boys' club of sci-fi and action heroes. All too often she rescued herself, and the men alongside her; she could shoot and fight, and lead rebellions. She was a feminist figure onscreen in one of the highest-grossing movie franchises of all time, and though she often joked and groaned about the role that followed her her entire life, she basked in it, loved her fans, and showed us all that women can be "nerds" too. 

But Carrie Fisher didn't just flex her wit and strength in a galaxy far, far away. The actress, mother, advocate, writer, and humorist was just as badass right here on earth.

[Photo via Twitter]