Kelly Marie Tran Gracefully Discusses Rose Tico Getting Wasted in ‘The Rise of Skywalker’

Published on February 13, 2020

The Rise of Skywalker practically pushed Rose Tico out of its universe. She had no more than a handful of minutes of thankless screen time, which screenwriter Chris Terrio chalked up to the special effects work. It was a baffling narrative decision after everything that occurred in The Last Jedi. Erasing Tico and Finn’s past was particularly disappointing. To actress Kelly Marie Tran’s credit, she responded to the criticisms and disappointment with real grace and professionalism.

A Character and Actor Wasted 

Before The Last Jedi came out, Tran said she was excited for fans to see her and Rey interact, but the two never shared a meaningful moment together. Tico, sadly, never had a real, genuine moment in the entire film. She was treated almost like an extra by Abrams and Terrio. Yes, they had a lot of story to tell, but they deliberately made choices that would keep Tico out of the picture. At the end of the day, it’s just bad storytelling following The Last Jedi.

Tran’s Thoughts on the Matter 

When Tran attended the Academy Awards — where she had about as much screen-time as she did in The Rise of Skywalker — she was asked by MTV about Tico’s almost nonexistent role in the film film: 

“I think I’m finally starting to realise that when you’re in something of that calibre, there’s so many people working to make something out of love. And no matter what you do, there’s always gonna be people that aren’t happy with that. I’m really just amazed at the way that JJ was able to sort of wrap up all these incredible stories. There were so many characters, you know? And at the end of the day I got to be part of something bigger than me, and that’s really special.”

Can’t Please Everybody 

You can’t please everybody is the best way to put it. Even if Tran has misgivings about her role in the film, she was professional not to share them in an interview, as other Star Wars actors have wrongly done in the past. It doesn’t do anyone any good to point fingers at a writer or director after a movie has come out, especially in interviews. Some conversations are better for behind closed doors.

Airing displeasure publicly has burnt several actresses’ careers, not so many actors, in the past. It’s dangerous. Still, Tico is right to be delighted to be a part of something so big and legendary. For any actor to score a major part in a Star Wars movie is an incredible accomplishment. Nobody can take that away from Tran.

Where’d You Go, Rose Tico?

According to Terrio, it had to do with special effects. Apparently, Tico had more scenes in the script between her and General Leia (the late Carrie Fisher), but the visual effects weren’t as lifelike as Abrams and everybody had hoped. Terrio claim this was the reason why Rose Tico doesn’t have a real role in the movie:

We thought we couldn’t leave Leia at the base without any of the principals who we love, so Leia and Rose were working together. As the process evolved, a few scenes we’d written with Rose and Leia turned out to not meet the standard of photorealism that we’d hoped for. Those scenes, unfortunately, fell out of the film. The last thing we were doing was deliberately trying to sideline Rose. We adore the character, and we adore Kelly – so much so that we anchored her with our favorite person in the galaxy, General Leia.

Whether that’s the whole truth and nothing but the truth or not, it still was a response that sugar-coated the situation and Tico’s awful role in the movie. Tico and Tran’s performance will live on forever since the world will never forget Star Wars, but nonetheless, it’s such a shame the character and actor didn’t get their due in the end.

Most disheartening of all, Abrams pleased too many toxic and racist Star Wars fans with the decision.

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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