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The Rise of Skywalker writer explains why Kelly Marie Tran had a reduced role


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The Rise of Skywalker writer explains why Kelly Marie Tran had a reduced role

A writer on The Rise of Skywalker is explaining the film’s handling of a character that some say was shortchanged in the new Star Wars film. Chris Terrio, who co-wrote the movie with director J.J. Abrams, was asked about the lack of screen time for Kelly Marie Tran’s character Rose Tico. The Resistance engineer was…

The Rise of Skywalker writer explains why Kelly Marie Tran had a reduced role

A writer on The Rise of Skywalker is explaining the film’s handling of a character that some say was shortchanged in the new Star Wars film.

Chris Terrio, who co-wrote the movie with director J.J. Abrams, was asked about the lack of screen time for Kelly Marie Tran’s character Rose Tico. The Resistance engineer was introduced in Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi where she had a major role in the film, but — spoiler alert — Tico spent The Rise of Skywalker back at the base and didn’t have many lines.

Terrio told Awards Daily that he and Abrams “adore” Tran and that the character’s role was originally more significant. Tran shot scenes where the character interacts with General Leia Organa, whose performance was created using Carrie Fisher’s deleted scenes from The Force Awaken. But the team ran into post-production difficulties making the Tico-Leia scenes believable.

“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 told Awards Daily. “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.”

Terrio added: “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.”

Tran also had at least one scene cut with Rey (Daisy Ridley), as seen in this pre-release promotional photo:

Jonathan Olley/© 2019 Lucasfilm Ltd.

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Tico’s role in The Last Jedi was heralded as the first major Star Wars role for an Asian actress. While many praised Tran’s inclusion and performance in Last Jedi, the actress was also subject to racist and sexist attacks online, which began even before that film was shown. Tran wrote an op-ed for the New York Times about the experience, noting that the bullying “reinforced a narrative I had heard my whole life: that I was ‘other’, that I didn’t belong, that I wasn’t good enough, simply because I wasn’t like them.” So Tran having such a slight role in the new film was considered at best unfortunate given the history, and at worst pandering to her attackers.

Tran’s fans have been protesting film with the hashtag campaign #RoseTicoDeservedBetter, spearheaded by Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu, who has offered to direct a Star Wars series about Tico if Disney Plus were to get on board.

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