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Rose Tico ‘marginalized’ in new Star Wars movie

Kelly Marie Tran with John Boyega in The Last Jedi

Views from the Edge

We need to talk: Where’s Rose Tico? What happened to “our girl” in Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker?

The prescient headline in Variety read: ‘Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker’s’ Kelly Marie Tran on Why Rose Tico’s Story Is Also Her Own. After the debut of the much awaited final episode of the space saga, Rose’s fans are in an uproar at her marginalization, giving more meaning to the headline.

“Her character was aspirational, especially to Asian American girls who grew up on Star Wars but never saw anybody that looked like them represented in the galaxy far, far away,” wrote Joey Marona on cleveland.com.

After making Rose Tico, the first Asian American hero in the last movie Star Wars: The Last Jedi, in the 11-episode (9 plus 2 side stories Rogue One and Solo) telling the story of a “galaxy far, far away,” the character has met the silent fate many Asian Americans face almost every day in school or on the job.


Rose’s role in the Rise of Skywalker has been significantly reduced to barely more than an extra lingering in the background. Her extraordinary heroism in Last Jedi, ending with a kiss with John Boyega’s Finn, one of the main characters, has long been forgotten. The new couple (or, so we thought) appeared embarrassed at letting their emotions get the better of them in the previous (Episode 8) of the 9-part saga.

I’m not sure what the decision process was in the making of what we are told will be the last Star Wars movie, for Rose Tico fans, including those Asian Americans cosplaying her at the numerous comic-cons, Rise of Skywalker is a major, major disappointment to say the least.

One explanation offered on social media is that director and producer JJ Abrams yielded to the fanboy trollers who like their women in spandex and their heroes White. After Rose was introduced in The Last Jedi, they went on a hate-filled on-line campaign causing Tran to cut herself off social media and forcing the director Rian Johnson and Abrams to go on the record in interviews defending the Rose Tico character and Tran.

After becoming the moral center of The Last Jedi and saving Finn’s ass (Boyega) from a senseless suicide attack, Rose deserved better. We expected better.

The Variety article, written before the general release of Episode 9, foretells Rose’s fate, but ends with a tinge of hope from Tran:

“And now that the Skywalker saga is ending, Tran thinks that Tico offers a new hope, especially for young Asian American fans – that they, too, can have a place on the big screen, in a galaxy far far away. In these made-up universes and real-life spaces that are still evolving to include them.

“’I cannot wait to see what this next generation does ‘cause the rules that we grew up believing are so…’ Tran pauses and lets out a laugh, ‘They’re lies.’”

Truth, Kelly. Truth.

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