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Why Rose Tico Was Barely In The Rise Of Skywalker

Contains spoilers for The Rise of Skywalker

Still mad about Rose's fate in The Rise of Skywalker? One of the screenwriters has an explanation — sort of.

Chris Terrio, who co-wrote The Rise of Skywalker alongside director J.J. Abrams, recently sat down for a conversation with Awards Daily to discuss the Skywalker-saga-ending film. When asked why Kelly Marie Tran and her character Rose Tico were both sidelined so badly after her important supporting turn in writer-director Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi, Terrio explained that Rose's absence was simply due to CGI difficulties. 

"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. 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," he said. "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 that diminishing Rose's role wasn't done on purpose, and that the Rise of Skywalker team has nothing but love for the character and the actress who plays her: "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."

According to Entertainment Weekly, Rose was also supposed to appear in scenes alongside Rey (Daisy Ridley), which can be seen in stills released before The Rise of Skywalker officially arrived in theaters. In the lead-up to the film's December 20 launch, Tran even told EW, "I think it's really cool at all that they are even in scenes together because in Jedi we weren't in any scenes together. It was really cool to have feminine energy on set. I wish I could tell you more but I'm really excited for people to see [Rose and Rey] interact. They both have the some objective which is to fight for the things you believe in and the people you love." However, it's clear that those scenes ultimately hit the cutting room floor.

Justice for Rose Tico

Terrio's explanation might satisfy some fans, but ultimately, Rose's exclusion from the action in The Rise of Skywalker is disappointing for a number of reasons. As the first Asian-American actress to appear in a major role within the Star Wars universe, Tran must have had a thrilling experience making her franchise debut in The Last Jedi, during which she made Rose a relatable, charming, and endearing character. With that in mind, it must have been heartbreaking to find herself shunted to the side in the final film of the Skywalker saga — a feeling that Tran couldn't help but express when she laughed in an interview after being asked about her character's Rise of Skywalker arc.

A lack of Rose in The Rise of Skywalker also seems to be a signal to a small yet vocal contingent of fans who decried Tran's inclusion in The Last Jedi. Tran penned an opinion piece for The New York Times in the wake of The Last Jedi backlash, writing, "Their words seemed to confirm what growing up as a woman and a person of color already taught me: that I belonged in margins and spaces, valid only as a minor character in their lives and stories [...] Their words 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. And that feeling, I realize now, was, and is, shame, a shame for the things that made me different, a shame for the culture from which I came from. And to me, the most disappointing thing was that I felt it at all."

Tran ultimately quit social media due to online harassment, and endured plenty of self-doubt and anxiety over the reaction to her role in The Last Jedi. Sidelining her once Abrams return to the director's chair certainly feels like a sad indication that the director wanted to please some of the franchise's most unpleasant fans.

With that said, the future looks bright for Tran, who has plenty of fans voicing their support for her and her Star Wars character alike. Some hope that Tran will team back up with Johnson for potential future films centered around Daniel Craig's detective character Benoit Blanc, the breakout star of Knives Out, or Jon M. Chu, who directed 2018's Crazy Rich Asians and started the hashtag #RoseTicoDeservedBetter. Taking it one step further, Chu even offered to direct a Disney+ series starring Rose Tico so that her story won't be forgotten.

All things considered, Star Wars fans can hope that Terrio and Abrams only had the best intentions where Rose was concerned, but bringing Carrie Fisher's passing into the equation feels somewhat off. Even if Rose's absence was due to CGI limitations and narrative difficulties, the entire situation feels unfair to Tran and the character she worked so hard to create.