Kelly Marie Tran’s career in Star Wars has been nothing if not tumultuous. She first appeared as Rose Tico in Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, and the controversy began immediately. Unfortunately, the Internet is chocked full of misogynists and racists who apparently didn’t like seeing an Asian woman in Star Wars. Harassment eventually drove her off of social media to avoid the incessant bigotry. Of course, her character arc didn’t help matters. Rose, mostly due to The Last Jedi’s widely derided Canto Bight sub-plot, became the most disliked character of that film. Thus, it stood to reason that The Rise of Skywalker would redeem that issue by giving her a larger role.
It didn’t. Not even close.
One reporter over at Slate clocked the time Rose Tico spent on camera in The Rise of Skywalker. The film neither gave the character greater due, nor provided Kelly Marie Tran the opportunity to show that Rose was a worthy entry into the Star Wars character log. To the contrary, her screen time decreased by nearly ninety percent from The Last Jedi to The Rise of Skywalker. According to the Slate report, Rose appeared in Episode IX for barely over a minute. She logged a miniscule seventy-six seconds. The question is why?
Kelly Marie Tran/Rose Tico reduced to afterthought in Episode IX
Writer/Director J.J. Abrams, despite claims to the contrary, worked very hard to correct many of the perceived wrongs of The Last Jedi. Admittedly I was one of the critics of the Rose Tico character. Mainly I felt the character’s story arc was unnecessary and plagued by poor writing. For me it was a waste of the talent Kelly Marie Tran can bring to the table. I had genuinely hoped to see more of her in The Rise of Skywalker with both a demonstration of her acting talent and her character’s greater importance. Instead, she was literally reduced to the background. Relegated to off-screen research duty, Rose was a complete non-factor.
I hope that her character’s much-diminished role was merely the result of the editing process. Abrams had a lot to accomplish in Episode IX’s two hours and twenty-one minutes. It would be a shame if he purposely reduced Tran’s role to cater to the lowest common denominator of the Star Wars fan base. Whatever the reason, Rose Tico would never get the chance to shine in The Rise of Skywalker.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now playing.