Hmm. Before the final cut of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was released in theaters last Dec. 20, Vietnamese American actress Kelly Marie Tran was pretty excited about the important role her character, Rose Tico, would have in the movie.
Interviews done before the The Skywalker premiere appear to undermine the statements of the screenplay writer of the final chapter of the 9-movie space saga.
“Yeah, it was probably one of the biggest sets I had ever been on,” Tran told The Hollywood Reporter about the Battle of Exegol, one of the climactic action scenes in “The Rise of Skywalker.” “It was incredible to see what the stunt teams did. It was also insane to be running across this platform — which I know you only see for a second in the movie — but we shot it so many times. I remember having bruises on my knees the next day because we kept running and then we would fall onto our knees and do some more shooting stuff. I don’t think that’s in the movie. It was definitely organized chaos as stormtroopers were flying, people were on horses. . . . It was pretty insane.”
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in November, Tran alluded to scenes that she supposedly shared with this trilogy’s new Jedi knight Rey (Daisy Ridley), even though none of their scenes together made the final cut.
“I think it’s really cool at all that they are even in scenes together because in ‘[The Last Jedi]’ we weren’t in any scenes together,” Tran told EW. “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.”
Unfortunately, neither of these scenes made the final cut. Nor did any scenes involving interactions with Princess Leia despite an explanation offered by writer Chris Terrio.
“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,” Terrio told several media in an interview published earlier this week. “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.” He added, “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.”
The argument Terrio gave was meant to temper the onslaught of criticism of the reduction of Tico’s role to that of an extra after playing such a major role in the rebel resistance in The Last Jedi, the movie preceding the current release. The Last Jedi ended with the hint that Tico’s heroics that saved the life of another major character, would lead to an even bigger role in the final chapter.
Terrio later clarified that his comments referred to “a specific scene in which Leia’s emotional state in Episode 7 did not seem to match the scene we wrote for use in Episode 9, and so it was cut at the script stage (before the VFX work was done).”
Oh, so the scenes were cut at the script stage, not in the editing. What that means is poor writing was the reason Tico’s onscreen time was reduced to 1 minute, 16 seconds.
What angers Tran’s/Tico’s fans is that it appears that the producers yielded to the racist and sexist fanboys who hated Tico, the first Asian American woman, the first woman of color, with a major role in the nine movies that defined the Star Wars universe.
To fans, it appears that lines and actions that could have been for Tico were given to newly introduced characters who were unnecessary in order to move the story forward.
Rose Tico deserves better. Kelly Marie Tran deserves better. Star Wars fans deserve better.
(Correction: An earlier version of this article referred to the Last Jedi when The Rise of the Skywalker should have been mentioned. We apologize for our error and carelessness.)
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