Kelly Marie Tran Pushed Out of ‘Star Wars,’ But Was There More Rose?


“The Rise of Skywalker” practically erases Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose Tico from the narrative, but was the character supposed to have a greater presence?

Rose Tico, "The Rise of Skywalker"

Rose Tico, “The Rise of Skywalker”

Disney

One of the biggest criticisms thrown at “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” since its nationwide release December 20 is the reduced role of Rose Tico, a Resistance member played by Kelly Marie Tran. Rose was introduced in “The Last Jedi” and became a point of contention for some toxic “Star Wars” fans. Tran had to wipe her Instagram account clean after becoming the victim of online harassment from “Star Wars” fans who disliked Rose and Tran’s hiring. Many Rose Tico fans were hopeful the character would continue to be a major character in “The Rise of Skywalker,” but as it turns out Rose is mostly removed from the entirety of the film.

Rose pops up near the beginning of “The Rise of Skywalker” as the main characters get ready to take off to the desert planet Pasanna to begin their mission. Finn tells Rose she won’t be going with them and the characters leave without her. Rose is nearly absent from the rest of the film, although she is shown briefly fighting on behalf of the Resistance during the climactic battle against the First Order on Exogol. By removing Rose from the narrative, many critics believe “Rise of Skywalker” is disrespectful in how it  validates the toxic fans and “Last Jedi” backlash that drove Tran off social media.

While Rose is not a big part of “The Rise of Skywalker” theatrical release, an earlier cut of the film might have featured the character in a larger capacity. Entertainment Weekly published a video interview with Tran on November 29,  just a couple days before the cast first saw the final cut of “The Rise of Skywalker” on December 3 (Richard E. Grant revealed as much in his first reaction of the film), and in it Tran expresses excitement over where “Rise of Skywalker” takes her character. Tran says she was most happy for Rose to interact with Daisy Ridley’s series protagonist Rey.

“I think it’s really cool at all that they are even in scenes together because in ‘Jedi’ we weren’t in any scenes together,” Tran says. “It was really cool to have feminine energy on set. I wish I could tell you more but I’m really excited for people to see [Rose and Rey] interact. They both have the some objective which is to fight for the things you believe in and the people you love.”

Tran says she was excited for “Star Wars” fans to see Rose and Rey interact in “Rise of Skywalker,” and fans might have expected the characters to share scenes together considering one “Rise of Skywalker” film still featured Rose and Rey sharing a moment at the Resistance base. And yet a scene of Rose and Rey interacting simply does not exist in “Rise of Skywalker.” The closest the characters come to interacting is sharing the same space when the film is set at the Resistance base at the beginning and end of the movie. The characters are never shown speaking one on one or share the screen alone together.

The way Tran spoke about Rose’s role in “Rise of Skywalker” to Entertainment Weekly prior to seeing the film makes it sound like Rose’s importance was supposed to be much greater. At the very least, it appears Rose had a least one scene opposite Rey where the characters talk. IndieWire has reached out to Lucasfilm for further comment. “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is now playing in theaters nationwide.

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