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Fans want justice for this sidelined Rise of Skywalker character

Contains spoilers for The Rise of Skywalker

One important character was left out of the action in The Rise of Skywalker, and fans are rising up to defend her.

In a clear effort to walk back some of the choices made by writer-director Rian Johnson in his Star Wars sequel trilogy installment The Last Jedi, J.J. Abrams brought the story back to the roots he planted in the trilogy's inaugural film, The Force Awakens. Unfortunately, one of Abrams' choices has proven controversial: he and co-writer Chris Terrio basically sidelined Kelly Marie Tran's Rose Tico, a character whom Johnson introduced in The Last Jedi.

A plucky young mechanic trying to avenge the death of her sister and support the Resistance, Rose was a welcome addition to the gang — and throughout The Last Jedi, she was mostly paired with John Boyega's ex-stormtrooper-turned-Resistance-fighter Finn. The film seemed to set up a larger arc for Rose moving forward — given she played a pivotal part in The Last Jedi's narrative – but unfortunately, fans hoping to see more of Rose in The Rise of Skywalker have ultimately faced disappointment.

Rather than let Rose get in on the action alongside Finn, Poe (Oscar Isaac), and Rey (Daisy Ridley) as they try to find a Sith wayfinder, evade Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), and destroy the recently risen Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDirmid), Abrams and Terrio basically wrote Rose out of The Rise of Skywalker entirely. Seen just briefly on screen, Rose stays behind from the big mission, telling Finn that she wouldn't be joining the crew and appearing only momentarily during the final battle. After her huge supporting turn in The Last Jedi, this choice feels incredibly confusing — and Rose loyalists want justice.

It wasn't Rose's turn in The Rise of Skywalker

After helping Finn during an excursion to Canto Bight and fighting on the front lines of the final battle against the First Order during The Last Jedi, Rose could have been included in any of The Rise of Skywalker's missions — from heading to the planet Pasaana to track down the Sith wayfinder to jetting over to Kijimi to have the droidsmith Babu Frik override C-3PO's (Anthony Daniels) protocols so he can give up the translation of the Sith text scrawled on said wayfinder. It would have made sense for Rose to be involved in the central plot, but she was kept mostly out of sight in The Rise of Skywalker

This is especially disappointing considering that Rose closed out The Last Jedi with the first moment of a potential love story. After preventing Finn from pulling a risky, suicidal move in his speeder during film's the final battle and almost sacrificing herself to save him, the pair shared a passionate kiss. However, by the time we arrive at the events of The Rise of Skywalker, Finn is back to following Rey around like a lovelorn puppy. All Rose, his once potential paramour, gets at the end of the film is a brief pat on the shoulder as Finn sets off to find his friends.

As we learned in The Last Jedi, Rose is a loyal friend, a capable fighter, and an incredibly valuable addition to the Resistance's cause — which begs the question: why would she be left out of the action in The Rise of Skywalker?

Redemption for Rose — and for Kelly Marie Tran

The saddest part of this entire situation is that Abrams seems to be validating some of the cruelest parts of the frequently divided Star Wars fandom. During a terse press tour, Abrams went on the attack regarding choices Johnson made during The Last Jedi. By making it pretty clear within the narrative confines of The Rise of Skywalker that Rose's character was yet another element he wanted to overhaul, Abrams also gave the franchise's angriest voices a new rallying cry.

In the aftermath of her role in The Last Jedi, Kelly Marie Tran — the first Asian-American lead in the history of the franchise — faced an unprecedented amount of backlash, quitting social media and largely vanishing from the public eye after being attacked for her part in the Star Wars universe. Some of these same people took Rose's diminished appearance in The Rise of Skywalker as a signal that they may have been right in their feelings all along.

Luckily, Tran — who herself has offered up a few reactions to her role in The Rise of Skywalker, including laughter when a reporter asked if she was happy with Rose's personal arc – has plenty of fans who have her back. Star Wars enthusiasts have taken to Twitter to defend the actress, demanding justice for her diminished role. 

One Twitter user, @Terri_Schwartz, wrote, "What #StarWarsRiseofSkywalker did to Rose Tico is unconscionable. Kelly Marie Tran got less screen time than Dominic Monaghan's random new character. They Jar Jar Binks-ed her because trolls bullied her off the Internet. Kelly deserved better. Meanwhile, Rahul Kohli wrote, "I don't care what your feelings are towards Star Wars, The Last Jedi or The Rise of Skywalker... we should all be disgusted in the way Kelly Marie Tran was treated in RoS. She was done dirty."

So what's next for Kelly Marie Tran after effectively losing her place in the Star Wars universe? Some of her fans have an idea, with many calling for her to team up with Rian Johnson once again and become a part of a potential Knives Out universe — especially after the director revealed he would be open to making more films featuring Daniel Craig's Benoit Blanc, the breakout character of the well-received whodunnit movie.

In any case, Tran certainly deserved better, and it's sad to see her sidelined in the final film of the Skywalker saga. Hopefully, there's still a bright future out there for this talented actress.

The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters now.