Splitting Up Finn and Rose in ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ Was an Unforgivable Mistake

Poor, maligned Rose Tico. The main new female character in Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi just can’t catch a break, although the actress playing her, Kelly Marie Tran, now can. 

At first, the actress and character caught a lot of flak, along with The Last Jedi as a whole. However, in at least some sections of Reddit, the film is seeing some redemption, as is Rose, whom many people feel was wrongly sidelined by The Rise of Skywalker. They feel a key mistake was keeping her away from Finn. 

Why did Rose get so much less screen time?

Kelly Marie Tran
Kelly Marie Tran | Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Disney

We met Rose when Finn was trying to get away from the Rebel convoy of ships to send a warning to Rey, having barely recovered from his injuries from The Force Awakens. Rose correctly deduces he’s deserting the ship, but unaware of his true motivations, shocks him.

The two reach an understanding and help each other find a way for the Rebel fleet to escape the pursuing First Order. They even seem to have a furtive romance of sorts, with Rose stopping Finn from making a suicide run at the climax. 

This pairing has been controversial on a number of fronts. Some fan reaction to Rose was so negative, it drove Kelly Marie Tran off social media. When The Rise of Skywalker came out last year, some fans accused the movie of going out of its way to sideline Rose by separating her from Finn and the others and keeping her at the base.

The filmmakers said this was because her scenes were tied to the late Carrie Fisher, but some fans didn’t buy that. 

None other than John Boyega referenced this in his viral interview with GQ, in which he minced no words about how Finn had been sidelined himself in Episodes VIII and IX. He complained “Like, you guys knew what to do with Daisy Ridley, you knew what to do with Adam Driver,” he says. “You knew what to do with these other people, but when it came to Kelly Marie Tran, when it came to John Boyega, you know f–all.”

What do fans say about Rose and Finn?

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Given all the tumult around Rose, she found  her band of defenders, some of whom are on Reddit. They started a post with a photo of Rose and Finn at their meeting with the bold statement, “This scene (and duo in general) has as much charm as Han and Leia in the Original Trilogy.”

Some people roundly disagreed with that, with one protesting that “Han and Leia had chemistry though, and a believable love story.” The topic-starter responded. “I’m talking about charm among characters, not romance. I like Finn and Rose’s chemistry a lot.” 

Some fans did agree that separating the characters was a mistake, with one saying, “”I see no reason for JJ (Abrams) to split them up in TROS. They might as well have been a couple, even if Rose kept her reduced role. Finn/Rose could have had a moment at the end.”

Instead, Finn went with Rey and Poe, and being the core trio of heroes that seemed like a good idea on paper, but fans thought that part of the movie was underwritten. Perhaps if Rose had a stronger role in The Rise of Skywalker, that might have strengthened Finn too. Then there might be fewer think pieces about Finn being sidelined too. 

What is Kelly Marie Tran doing now?

After the release of Episode IX. Tran made an appearance as a presenter at this year’s Oscars, with many people joking that even that brief appearance gave her more screen time than she got in Rise of Skywalker. If you’re counting with a stopwatch, that might actually be true. 

However, Tran will not be on the sidelines for long.  She’ll be working for Disney again, but with a very different division of the studio – the animation.

As NBC reported, She has been cast as the lead in the next Disney animated movie, Raya and the Last Dragon, that studio’s first movie since Frozen II.

Raya and the Last Dragon is set in the kingdom of Kumandra, where dragons and humans lived peacefully until monsters invaded  The film follows Raya — “part princess, part warrior” in her quest to find the titular last dragon. 

Tran will be Disney animation’s first southeast Asian lead. The film is due next March.