'Star Wars' sisters hail girl-powered galaxy


Daisy Ridley, pictured, a rare female action star in "The Force Awakens". PHOTO:AFP

Carrie Fisher's death caused a huge disturbance in the Force, but the women of "The Last Jedi" vowed Sunday to honor her legacy in the latest girl-powered "Star Wars" chapter.

The cast came together in a secret location in Los Angeles with director Rian Johnson to build buzz for the latest chapter in the blockbuster space saga, which hits theaters on December 15.

"You get to see women that are not big and strong just because they're acting like men. They're doing something else," said Gwendoline Christie, 39, who plays stormtrooper commander Captain Phasma.

"And also you're seeing a developed character, or a developing character, that is showing some complex character traits. I'm delighted that something as legendary as 'Star Wars' has decided to reflect our society."

"The Last Jedi" -- filmed on the west coast of Ireland and at Pinewood Studios near London -- sees the return of the characters introduced in 2015's seventh installment, "The Force Awakens."

Christie, flanked by red-robed Praetorian guard as she took the stage, was joined by returning stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domnhall Gleeson, and Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill.

There were new faces too: Kelly Marie Tran as Resistance maintenance worker Rose Tico and Laura Dern, who plays Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo.

Ridley, 25, spoke of growing up in London in a liberal household where sexism wasn't an issue -- and of being overwhelmed by the rapturous response to her appearance as a rare female action star in "The Force Awakens."

"When I got involved, I knew it was a big deal, but the response was so beyond anything I could have imagined, that it was only afterward that I was like 'Oh -- oh yeah,'" she said.

Tran, 28, spoke of the "honor and responsibility" of playing a prominent female character and wanting to do the role justice.

"And the girls in this movie kick some butt. Every single one is so good," she said.

Fisher -- who played General Leia Organa when she was known simply as Princess Leia in the original 1977-83 trilogy -- died in December, having already wrapped her scenes for "The Last Jedi."

"I watched TV and film obsessively from such a young age, but [she] stayed with me throughout my formative years," said Christie, who plays warrior Brienne of Tarth on HBO's "Game of Thrones."

"She's really interesting, she's really smart, she's really funny, she's courageous, she's bold, she doesn't care what people think, and she isn't prepared to be told what to do."