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How Carrie Fisher Brought Depth To Family Guy's Angela

The late actress Carrie Fisher is, of course, best known for her role as Princess Leia in the "Star Wars" films — she starred in the original trilogy, from 1977 to 1983, before reprising the role for 2015's "The Force Awakens" and its follow-up films. Fisher also appeared in plenty of other notable roles outside of the "Star Wars" films, having racked up over 90 on screen acting credits before her death in 2016 (via IMDb). 

One of Fisher's longest running projects was "Family Guy," on which she voiced the character of Angela from 2005 until her death. Angela is Peter's (Seth MacFarlane) boss at the Pawtucket Brewery. Angela and Peter have somewhat of an up-and-down relationship, with Peter initially trying to befriend Angela, to failed attempts as Angela prefers Peter's co-worker Opie (Mark Hentemann). Fisher's death was ultimately written into the show: Angela's final appearance is in Season 16 Episode 9 and, in a later episode, it's revealed that Angela died after swimming within twenty minutes of eating, getting a stomach cramp and dying.

Fisher was a beloved member of the cast as well as a fan favorite character, and those who worked with her had nothing but praise for the late actress. Here's what executive producer Steve Callaghan has to say about how Fisher elevated the role.

Callaghan said Fisher made Angela more than a one note character

In a November 2017 interview, ahead of Angela's last appearance in "Family Guy," executive producer Steve Callaghan spoke with Entertainment Weekly about what Carrie Fisher brought to the role and to the series. Callaghan and interviewer Dan Snierson noted that the character was no easy one to take on, seeing as Angela has an intense loneliness. Callaghan then praised Fisher for bringing a depth to Angela that wasn't on the page.

Callaghan said, "It would be easy for a less capable actress to make that character kind of one-note, gruff and yelling all the time. But Carrie brought to it a depth that I don't think just anyone could have. And it enabled us to do some of the types of episodes that I was talking about, where we got to know her on a deeper level. Anyone knows their boss in their one context, and there's a full person behind that that they, for the most part, don't get to know." The producer continued by noting that, with Fisher's performance, they were able to explore Angela's life outside of the office and explore the character further. He added that being able to do that was something that the writers enjoyed, thanks to Fisher.

Callaghan continued, "We're incredibly grateful to her for that, and we all feel the loss of that now that we're writing episodes that don't have Angela in them."

Callaghan and MacFarlane weren't sure they'd be able to book Fisher

Before Fisher was able to bring that depth to Angela, Callaghan and creator-star MacFarlane weren't even sure that they'd be able to get Fisher to agree to the part. In the same interview with Entertainment Weekly, Callaghan explained that after they decided to switch up Peter's workplace and give him a woman boss to make way for an interesting dynamic, they started thinking about Fisher for the role. This came about mainly because MacFarlane is a huge "Star Wars" fan as well as a big fan of "The 'Burbs," the 1989 film in which Fisher starred. But they were unsure if they would be able to book her.

Callaghan said, "There was some skepticism expressed about if we'd be able to get her. She was such a big star, and so well-known, what would be in it for her to do this show? So we were thrilled when word came back that she was interested in doing the part."

Once she was on board, Callaghan explained that Fisher was up for anything and really reveled in whatever challenge they threw her away, including the more serious storylines such as the suicide attempt. The producer continued, "She was always up for anything ... Anytime we would bring her into the show — and especially if it as an unusual or unexpected context, she loved it."