The Marvelous Nerd Year’s Eve Comic Con in Downtown Dallas took a serious tone on Saturday morning as fans mourned the death of icon Carrie Fisher with another "Star Wars" actor.
Fisher died last week while organizers were preparing for the convention, prompting them to put together a last minute tribute.
“We felt like we’d really be slacking off if we didn’t honor our favorite princess,” one organizer told the crowd at the Dallas Sheraton.
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So they contacted North Texan Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca with Fisher in the "Star Wars" films, and asked him to host a special tribute to her at the event.
Mayhew and his wife, Angie, told the crowd they were happy to join the fans to share memories with their longtime friend.
“She was a princess,” Mayhew said. “She can adapt to almost any situation and she did.”
Mayhew told stories of his first time meeting Fisher on the "Star Wars" set and of their times together through the years.
Angie got laughs from the crowd as she remembered Fisher intensely interviewing her when she first married Peter; ultimately getting Fisher’s blessing and friendship.
Fans filled the panel room at the event; many dressed as Fisher’s Princess Leia character. Some shed tears as tribute videos to the star were played and as particularly heartwarming memories were shared.
To her fans, many said, Fisher was an inspiration in both her on-screen personas and in the ways she overcame personal demons.
"You can be strong, and brave, and beautiful, and smart, and a woman,” said Mai Swan, who came dressed up with her daughter in tribute to Fisher. “She’s an inspiration."
"I think Carrie was the one that taught me to always be independent,” said Stephanie, a professional cosplayer who tours comic cons dressing as Leia in tribute to Fisher.
Mayhew told the crowd to remember Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds, who also died last week, as they celebrate the New Year and to continue to pass along the stars’ legacies.
"Make sure that Carrie Fisher lives on in everybody's memory,” Mayhew said. "She was never early, but looking around seeing all the fans, she would have been here on time."