The controversies over Kelly Marie Tran’s shortened scenes in The Rise of Skywalker (as Rose Tico) reached enough of a level on social media where Disney may try to amend things down the line. Whether this means giving her a Disney+ show or a lengthy cameo in a Star Wars show later, her work on TRoS was reportedly difficult and pretty much wasteful.
With new reports out she filmed a lot more scenes alongside a digitally altered Carrie Fisher/Leia for interactions, it must be painful to realize all the work put in and then being cut out.
In a movie as complex as TRoS, mistakes like this were inevitable. However, the knowledge Tran was going to have more scenes with Leia makes some bristle on whether it was lack of directorial foresight.
Having actors interacting with Leia was already bound to be complicated
All the scenes that did make it into TRoS with Carrie Fisher as Leia work ok, though they do seem a little inserted. It’s usually noticeable when an actor isn’t physically on the set and just placed in there via so-called digital magic.
Fortunately, Daisy Ridley appeared to have really been in that Jedi training scene with Carrie Fisher, unless there was also digital trickery at play. When it came to other actors interacting with Leia, it meant having to talk to a green screen. Kelly Marie Tran reportedly had to do this, often leading to major complications.
Having to react to someone who isn’t there is always a confusing way to work as an actor. While it’s far from the first time an actor has had to this, Tran hadn’t really done this before. No doubt she would have pulled off these scenes with aplomb, though, considering she was so memorable as Rose in The Last Jedi.
According to reports, J.J. Abrams felt the scenes with the digitally inserted Leia just didn’t look photorealistic enough. Some might find this a bit of an excuse when digital technology is far more convincing nowadays.
Or maybe digital recreations of actors really don’t work
Nobody can say the digital recreation of a young Leia in Rogue One looked perfect. While it was done as a form of motion capture with another actress in place, the digital enhancements looked more than obvious, especially when seen in 4K.
Despite today’s massive technological leaps in movies, creating a digital representation looking truly believable still isn’t quite there. Abrams has basically admitted to this based on some of the previously filmed footage of Carrie Fisher not working right.
A lot of this still doesn’t explain why Rose couldn’t have had more time beyond just interacting with Leia. The arguments of her being robbed of screen time will likely go on. However, the Leia cuts might have been something occurring anyway with a different writer and director.
With recent word Colin Trevorrow’s original rejected 2015 script had Leia as the center of importance, it’s possible there could have been similar circumstances under his directorship.
Under Trevorrow, a digital Leia might have been an 11th-hour decision
Imagine having a script ready to go and then receiving word of Carrie Fisher’s death in late 2016. Trevorrow’s script was still considered a go by this point, and Trevorrow said at the time the movie would give a proper ending to the Leia character.
Of course, Trevorrow was out not long after, and in stepped J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio to start all over. Had Trevorrow stayed on, it’s worth pondering whether his team would have gone ahead with the Leia idea and used a digital version of her throughout the movie.
Or, there may have been rewrites at the last second had Kelly Marie Tran wasted time filming scenes ultimately ending up on the cutting room floor.
As good of an actress as Tran is, it’s unlikely she’ll end up on any cutting room floors again once she lands in films placed firmly on earth.