Calls of “Where’s Rose?” spread throughout the Internet leading up to the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, after Kelly Marie Tran was notably absent from marketing materials and trailers. But even after the final film of the Skywalker Saga hit theaters, that question still remained. Tran was introduced in Star Wars: The Last Jedi as a Rose Tico, a new lead in the massive sci-fi franchise and the first woman of color to co-lead a Star Wars film. After making her mark in the acclaimed 2017 film as a spark of hope and the voice of the victims of war, it seemed like the former Resistance mechanic was destined for greatness in the next sequel. But it turns out all she was destined for was 1 minute and 16 seconds of screen time.
Read on for an explanation from one of the film’s writers about Rose she ended up with such a limited role in the movie. Spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker follow.
The treatment of Rose Tico is possibly the most egregious element of the divisive Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Formerly a Resistance mechanic whose inspiring rise in The Last Jedi helped prove the movie’s theme that anyone could be a hero, Rose was rudely sidelined in The Rise of Skywalker, left out of the adventures of the main trio and given no resolution to her arc with Finn. Instead, she was left to share scenes with a CGI insert of General Leia (via archival footage of Carrie Fisher) and share her lines with a new character played by Dominic Monaghan (making good on a bet with director and co-writer J.J. Abrams).
But according to The Rise of Skywalker co-writer Chris Terrio, Rose was featured in several major scenes that ended up on the cutting room floor because of the “difficulty” surrounding the remaining footage of Fisher. Here’s what he said in an interview with Awards Daily:
“Well, first of all, J.J. and I adore Kelly Marie Tran. 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’s footage in the way we wanted to. 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. 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 this galaxy, General Leia.”
Terrio offers the most unsatisfactory of excuses for the sidelining of Rose — a character who in The Last Jedi had absolutely zero relationship with General Leia. Why not pair Leia with a character who actually had an evolving relationship with her throughout the course of the three films, like say Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac)? As Thrillist’s Emma Stefansky points out, Poe was introduced in The Force Awakens as a hotshot pilot whose reckless temperament proved to be his greatest flaw in The Last Jedi and the source of conflict between him and Leia. Wouldn’t Poe be better suited to be Leia’s scene partner throughout The Rise of Skywalker — making his eventual stepping up to leadership position even more powerful? As opposed to making Rose…look at starship plans for two hours.
Terrio’s reasoning is even more disappointing for not addressing the extreme (and often racist) backlash towards Tran’s character upon her introduction in The Last Jedi, which was so terrible that it led to Tran leaving social media. For many people, the sidelining of Rose in The Rise of Skywalker was interpreted as Abrams and Terrio surrendering to that blacklash against Tran, and from my perspective, their weak excuses for her being effectively reduced to a background character don’t do enough to contradict that.
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Source: Slash Film