‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’: Fans Overlooked the Most Important Character in the Movie Because She Barely Has Any Lines

Mention Star Wars: The Last Jedi to fans, and you’re bound to stir up a debate. Writer-director Rian Johnson’s 2017 Star Wars movie has arguably shaken up the franchise more than even George Lucas’ prequel trilogy. Yet, for all the discussion about how the movie affected the saga, many fans forget to acknowledge one of its most essential figures.

'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'
‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ | Getty Images

Fans were divided over Rose Tico in ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’

Much of the online discourse surrounding The Last Jedi has centered on Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran). Rose served the Resistance as a maintenance worker before getting swept up in an adventure with John Boyega’s Finn. This plotline — which sees the duo meet Benicio del Toro’s DJ and travel to the affluent Canto Bight — is often cited as the least interesting in the film.

However, some fans took their negative emotions out on Tran. The actor was subsequently harassed online and ultimately left all social media. Yet, some fans of The Last Jedi have defended Tran and hope to see more of her character. For as much as Rose has dominated The Last Jedi conversation, her sister has been nearly absent from it.

RELATED: ‘Star Wars’: The Saga Still Needs to Follow Through on the End of ‘The Last Jedi’

But Rose’s sister, Paige, kicked off the entire movie

In the movie’s opening sequence, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) leads an assault on one of the First Order’s Dreadnoughts. His rash actions wind up getting the Resistance bombing fleet killed. But at the last moment, one pilot manages to release the explosives to take down the First Order ship: Rose’s sister, Paige Tico.

Played by Van Veronica Ngo, the character’s heroic actions not only set up Poe’s arc but also that of The Last Jedi itself. Johnson’s movie questions the nature of leadership, what it means to be a hero, and the balance of light and dark in each of its leads. Those themes carry through Poe’s story as well as Rey’s (Daisy Ridley) and Finn’s (John Boyega).

Paige’s sacrifice in the film’s opening few minutes creates a foundation for that moral exploration. And yet Ngo had no clue how integral her character would be to the movie until she saw it at the premiere.

“I remember being nervous and scared going into the project because they are so strict,” Ngo told Insider. “It’s understandable because it’s so big, but I couldn’t see anything, read the script, take any pictures. … When I shot it, I had no idea how big the ship was or the ship I was bombing, I just acted the way Rian told me. The way it turned out, it was a great feeling.”

RELATED: ‘Star Wars’: This Controversial ‘The Last Jedi’ Actor Wants to Return as 1 of Rey’s Force-Sensitive Students

Van Veronica Ngo also appears in Netflix action movie ‘The Old Guard’

Paige Tico’s role in the Star Wars universe might have been brief. But for what it’s worth, the character did shape an entire chapter of the saga. As for Ngo, the actor is already a popular star overseas, but her career has really gained steam in the past few years.

Since joining the Star Wars family, Ngo starred in Will Smith vehicle Bright and Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods. In 2019, she also headlined Furie, the highest-grossing movie in her native Vietnam. And most recently, she stars opposite Charlize Theron in The Old Guard.