While fans have had plenty of issues with new Star Wars movie The Rise of Skywalker, one of the most consistent gripes has been the treatment of actress Kelly Marie Tran, whose character Rose Tico – a central lead figure in 2017’s The Last Jedi – has just over a minute of screentime in the sequel.
Theories for Rose’s minimal role have tended to assume that screenwriter Chris Terrio and director JJ Abrams were kowtowing to a section of fans who took against Tran’s character in the earlier movie (a minority of whom subjected the star to racist and sexist abuse so extreme she left social media) – but now, Terrio has said there were more practical considerations.
“The last thing we were doing was deliberately trying to sideline Rose,” Terrio told the Awards Daily podcast (via Entertainment Weekly).
“We adore the character, and we adore Kelly — so much so that we anchored her with our favourite person in this galaxy, General Leia.”
But according to Terrio, pairing her with the late Carrie Fisher ended up dooming Rose’s longer scenes to the cutting room floor, with the digitally reused footage of Fisher not quite meshing with Tran’s newly-shot performance.
“One of the reasons that Rose has a few less scenes than we would like her to have has to do with the difficulty of using Carrie Fisher’s footage in the way we wanted to,” Terrio said.
“We wanted Rose to be the anchor at the rebel base who was with Leia. 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.”
So there you have it – a semi-official explanation for the wane of Rose in Rise of Skywalker. Though of course, it doesn’t quite answer why a scene of Rose interacting with Daisy Ridley’s Rey (as revealed by the main image promo photo) was cut from the film as well, or why Rose wasn’t included in the main adventure when brand-new, underdeveloped characters like Naomi Ackie’s Jannah and Keri Russell’s Zorii Bliss were instead.
Still, not to worry – if Crazy Rich Asians direction Jon M. Chu has his way, this won’t be the last we see of Tran OR Rose Tico anyway…
Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker is in UK cinemas now