Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Real Reason These Characters Had Such Small Roles In The Rise Of Skywalker

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker might not be the longest film in the Skywalker Saga, but it is arguably the most sprawling. The film is a massive, ultra-ambitious epic that takes viewers to numerous planets, follows dozens of characters, and concludes with what's probably the biggest space battle the Star Wars franchise has ever seen. There's a lot going on, which means that some characters were bound to fall by the wayside as others took the lead in the closing chapter of the saga.

For some of these characters, it was probably a blessing that they got what little screentime they ended up with, because the film blazed by so fast there was barely any room for them in the first place. For others, their reduced roles can be chalked up to what essentially amounts as a glorified cameo appearance to give fans a little something to cheer about it. And then there are those characters who had huge roles to play in the last film but, for whatever reason, wound up running out of space to move around in this time. Here are nine characters with small roles in The Rise of Skywalker, and our exploration of why each one ended up with limited screentime.

Leia Organa

Well, if we're going to talk about explanations for limited screentime in The Rise of Skywalker, we'd better get the biggest one out of the way first. Star Wars: The Force Awakens introduced us to an older version of Leia Organa, now a General leading a Resistance against the First Order, who was set up as a key leadership figure for a new generation of heroes. Leia continued that role in The Last Jedi, but actress Carrie Fisher died suddenly in 2016 after completing work on that film, leaving her character's future in jeopardy.

Fortunately, Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams still had several minutes of Leia footage left over from that film, and was able to salvage it for use in The Rise of Skywalker. Leia is present throughout most of the film as leader of the Resistance, but the limited amount of Fisher footage meant that she was often shown simply observing and reacting to other characters. The dialogue scenes she does have are short, but memorable, and with the help of movie magic Abrams was able to engineer an unforgettable death scene for her character.

Lando Calrissian

When the new Star Wars sequel trilogy got off the ground after Disney purchased Lucasfilm, fans were delighted that the films would feature the return of beloved original trilogy characters. The Force Awakens delivered on that promise, giving us older versions of Han Solo, Leia Organa, and Luke Skywalker, though his real showcase didn't come until The Last Jedi. Throw in the returns of characters like Chewbacca and C-3PO, and you've got an audience eager to see as many callbacks as possible. That meant a lot of people wanted to see Han Solo's old pal and the suavest dude in the galaxy, Lando Calrissian.

Unfortunately, Lando didn't make his return until The Rise of Skywalker, and it's easy to see why he was needed. With both Han Solo and Luke Skywalker dead and Leia Organa pulling limited duty, the film needed another Rebel legend to turn to. In the end, though, that's pretty much all Lando is there for. He's meant to look cool, say a couple of catchy lines, and be an inspirational figure for the younger heroes. Billy Dee Williams hasn't lost a step, and lives up to his job in the film with charm to spare.

Luke Skywalker

The sequel trilogy has been a bit of a rough road for Luke Skywalker. When it was announced that Mark Hamill would return to reprise the role for The Force Awakens, fans were excited, then the film revealed that Luke is really only talked about in that chapter of that story, only appearing onscreen in the final scene. The Last Jedi gave Luke a lot to do, but it presented a very different side of Luke Skywalker, then capped things off with the character's redemptive death.

So, though fans were thrilled to learn that Hamill would be back for The Rise of Skywalker, we also didn't expect the dead character to have too much to do, and as it turns out our expectations were on the money. Luke does show up as a Force ghost at a key moment in the story, when Rey is doubting herself and contemplating a self-exile similar to Luke's own. He gets to dispense some wisdom, give her a couple of key pieces of Star Wars lore, and then shuffle back off into the afterlife. It makes sense that he's only there for a few minutes, but it still would have been nice to see him pop up at least one more time somewhere in the film, even beyond his voice cameo in the climactic sequence.

Rose Tico

Every Star Wars film brings a few new supporting characters along for the ride. In The Last Jedi, one of the most important new additions was Rose Tico, a Resistance mechanic who ran into Finn and struck up a friendship that led to a mission and even a hint of romance. Rose was well-received by a number of fans who fell in love with star Kelly Marie Tran's portrayal of her, so of course it was confirmed that she'd be coming back for Rise of Skywalker.

Thanks to her status as one of the few survivors of the Battle of Crait at the end of The Last Jedi, Rose shows up in Rise with a bigger role to play in the Resistance. Unfortunately, that role apparently also comes at the cost of her screentime. As Rey, Finn, and Poe head out for their mission early in the film, Rose shows up to explain that she can't come because Leia has asked her to stay behind and study the new Sith Star Destroyers. She then disappears for much of the rest of the film before showing up again to fight in the Battle of Exegol at the end. Sadly, Rose's presence in the film seems to have been sacrificed to create more of a trinity dynamic between Finn, Rey, and Poe.

Maz Kanata

One of the most intriguing supporting characters introduced in The Force Awakens was Maz Kanata, the wise alien who ran a cantina in a castle and somehow had access to Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber. Maz's presence in that film raised a number of questions with regard to who she was and what role she had to play, and in the end all we really knew was that she was on the side of the light.

After a small cameo appearance in The Last Jedi, Maz made her way to the Resistance base for The Rise of Skywalker, where she hangs out for pretty much the entire movie without ever really contributing anything major to the plot. Instead, she functions as almost a Greek chorus, using her wisdom and knowledge of the Force to help give the audience some context for Leia's final struggle, then popping up during the final celebration to give Chewbacca a medal. There wasn't a lot of room in the film for more Maz character development, so instead she got to be a rather prominent observer.

Beaumont Kin

The Rise of Skywalker is a film packed wall-to-wall with major plot developments that both reshape the Star Wars galaxy and push the characters we already know in sometimes shocking new directions. That means that, while there are new characters, they don't always get a lot of time to luxuriate in the spotlight.

One of these new characters is Beaumont Kin, a Resistance fighter played by Lost co-star Dominic Monaghan. Beaumont spends most of his time in the film hanging around the Resistance base, and then plays a part in Finn's "ground assault" on the command Star Destroyer at the Battle of Exegol. He tends to stay close to Billie Lourd's Lt. Connix, and like Connix he's a character who's really only there most of the time to add context in terms of what the Resistance is dealing with at any given moment. He gets to say the line about "secrets only the Sith knew" when they talk about Palpatine's return, but most of the time he's just there to let us know there's more to the Resistance than those 20 or so fighters we saw at the end of The Last Jedi.


Speaking of new characters, when Finn, Poe, and Rey make it to the Endor system they come across a group of warriors who agree to help them get to the Death Star II to find what they're looking for. These warriors are later revealed to be deserter stormtroopers who've made a life for themselves on their world, where they've stripped their old First Order ship for parts and simply learned to get by. We learn this because their leader, Jannah, has a conversation with Finn about the shared aspects of their pasts.

This makes Jannah a fascinating character with a lot of potential depth, but while she gets more to do than Beaumont Kin, she's also not a character with a really big chunk of screentime. She gets early moments on Endor establishing who she is, then hangs around with Finn throughout the final battle, but we don't really learn what her real desires are other than to fight against the First Order. We get a hint of what happens to her next in a very ambiguous scene with Lando at the very end of the film, but in this movie she's mostly there to add some depth to Finn's story.

Wedge Antilles

Over the course of the sequel trilogy, the Star Wars franchise has featured the return of many characters ranging from the stars of the original trilogy to side characters who became fan favorites over the decades and managed to get at least a cameo in the continuation of the saga. Among these characters are Nien Nunb, Admiral Ackbar, and even Yoda.

Ever since The Force Awakens, fans have been on the lookout for these characters, and one that's been requested numerous times is Wedge Antilles, the legendary Rebel pilot who worked to destroy both Death Stars and become one of Luke Skywalker's closest comrades in arms. After two movies in which he was absent, Wedge finally got to make an appearance in The Rise of Skywalker, but it was agonizingly brief. Wedge only shows up in the film as the ragtag Resistance fleet shows up at the Battle of Exegol, sitting in one of the gunner bays on the Millennium Falcon. It's a great little cameo moment that feels like it was a long time coming, and as sad as it is that Wedge didn't get more screentime, it's also understandable. There was just too much movie happening around him to use him more.


Though it ultimately branches out into a number of different subplots, The Rise of Skywalker opens with a very specific and deceptively simple hook: Palpatine has returned, and our heroes have to do something about it. That means Finn, Poe, and Rey are all heading out for a mission on the Millennium Falcon, but it also means they can't just take everyone along for the ride. This is one of the reasons Rose Tico is absent for much of the film, and it's also why the beloved droid R2-D2 is absent from the mission. Instead, the gang takes C-3PO and BB-8 along for the trip, and Artoo is relatively quiet until he flies into battle with Poe at the end of the film.

So, why leave Artoo — arguably the most iconic and beloved droid in the franchise — back at the base for much of the film? Well, in many ways Artoo has always felt like Luke Skywalker's droid, and with Luke out of the picture for so much of the sequel trilogy he always felt like he didn't always fit. Then there's the film's desire to showcase Threepio's place in Star Wars lore, which is easily the biggest droid spotlight of the sequels, even including BB-8's role in The Force Awakens. And then, of course, there's the fact that BB-8 has become the unofficial mascot for the sequel trilogy, so if the filmmakers had to choose between him and Artoo, they were probably going to go with the ball droid over the trusty old Astromech.