Kelly Marie Tran Would’ve Had More Rose Tico Scenes in ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ if This Hadn’t Happened

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has barely been out for a week but there have already been a week’s worth of analysis on Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran)’s lack of screen time in the latest film. Writer/director Rian Johnson introduced her in The Last Jedi only to have J.J. Abrams strand her planetside in the final film of the trilogy and the saga.

Kelly Marie Tran
Kelly Marie Tran | Robin Pope/NurPhoto via Getty Images

On December 26, the day after Christmas, #RoseTicoDeservedBetter trended on Twitter as fans protested the sidelining of the brand new character, who just so happened to also represent diversity in a galaxy far, far away. Director John M. Chu went so far as to pitch a Rose Tico streaming series to Disney+

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker co-writer Chris Terrio offers an explanation for why Rose Tico had so few scenes in the film. Indiewire and Vulture noticed Terrio’s December 24 interview with Awards Daily in which they asked him point blank about Kelly Marie Tran’s reduced role. Terrio explained what happened.

J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio wanted more Kelly Marie Tran in ‘The Rise of Skywalker’

Chris Terrio told Awards Daily that he and J.J. Abrams had every intention of giving Tran a juicy role in The Rise of Skywalker. In fact, the reason they left Rose Tico on the base with General Leia (Carrie Fisher) was so that she would have an important role.

Kelly Marie Tran in The Rise of Skywalker
Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) | Lucasfilm/Disney

“Well, first of all, J.J. and I adore Kelly Marie Tran,” Terrio said. “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 intention was for Rose Tico to have more scenes with Leia

Terrio and Abrams wrote a lot more scenes for Rose Tico, and Kelly Marie Tran even filmed those scenes.

“We wanted Rose to be the anchor at the rebel base who was with Leia,” Terrio said. “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.”

Blame visual effects for reducing Kelly Marie Tran’s role in ‘The Rise of Skywalker’

That’s where the problems began. Carrie Fisher died in 2016 before filming any of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The only way to keep Leia in the film was to use outtakes Fisher filmed for The Force Awakens. Kelly Marie Tran does appear in scenes with Fisher thanks to visual effects, but Terrio and Abrams may have gotten too ambitious for what technology could reasonably accomplish.

Kelly Marie Tran | Ethan Miller/FilmMagic

“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 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.”