Of all the directions and plot points Star Wars fans expressed hatred for in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, one of the most prominent was the choice made regarding actress Kelly Marie Tran and her character, Rose Tico.
While Rian Johnson gave Rose a significant role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, J.J. Abrams relegated her to a small role in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Tran reprised her role for only 76 seconds of screentime, and fans are not happy. Typing #RoseTicoDeservedBetter, fans have taken to the Twittersphere in droves.
Here are some of the few examples that don’t include any profanity:
— Raising a Rebel (@RaisingaRebel) December 27, 2019
— Iain MacKinnon (@MacKinnonPlus) December 27, 2019
— Jean-Victor Rath Vireah 🇰🇭 (@FLUMEED) December 27, 2019
Lucasfilm executive, Chris Terrio, came out saying that the reason why her screentime was so short was that they wrote Rose into scenes with Leia. Because of the circumstances they were dealing with, the photorealism in the scenes with Rose and Leia did not meet the standards. So, they had to cut them out.
Here is the full statement:
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.
However, many fans were not sold on this explanation and found it to be a lame excuse.
The Polarizing Rose Tico
Nobody asked for Rose Tico in The Last Jedi. Nobody asked to have the main trio be completely split up in The Last Jedi, either. But, that’s what we got. While The Empire Strikes Back features all the characters continuing to build their bond through the darker struggles of the second movie, Rian Johnson splits our friends up in the second film of this trilogy. And he sends Finn off with Rose.
The Last Jedi basically tell three stories with equal focus, with an internal conflict overshadowing the external one. That is, the real enemy–regardless of flags and uniforms–is fear and hate. The true hero is hope, courage, and love. Rose was supposed to help bring that message home.
Rose Tico was both loved and hated for the same reasons: she is a completely innocent and naive rebel girl who holds a major grudge against the rich people of “Space Monaco.” Her purity is seen as a precious war-time jewel and is misconstrued as helplessness. Her refusal to let Finn get away with any classic “reluctant hero” antics makes her appear as an enlightening guide as well as an annoyance who is not allowing Finn to do or learn anything for himself.
Ignorant masses who can’t conjure a solid argument fell back on the race card, but Rose’s race has nothing to do with it. Close your eyes and listen to The Last Jedi, or read the script. Anybody could have been cast in her role. They could have made her an alien. Who she is has nothing to do with her character.
“Do we have time for this character?”
In a story about the forces of good battling the forces of evil, we have to ask, “Do we have time for this character?” Some Star Wars fans loved it and were ready to give Rose Tico all the time in the world. Others wanted more focus on Rey, Finn, and Po, and had no time for this side character who, in their opinion, took too much attention away from the main story in The Last Jedi.
To everyone’s fury, J.J. Abrams decided he did not have time for Rose. He could only afford 76 seconds of screentime.