Academy Award-winning screenwriter Chris Terrio sat down with Awards Daily to discuss the end of the 42-year ‘Skywalker’ saga. One of the hottest topics of the night was why Rose Tico, played by Kelly Marie Tran, had a reduced role in the final installment.
According to Terrio, although he and J.J. Abrams adored Tran, they found it difficult to integrate the footage of the late Carrie Fischer, General Leia, in a believable way. "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" he explained.
As the process evolved, however "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." That meant that Tran, whose character’s role was so closely linked to General Leia, saw less screen-time than anticipated,.
Tico’s role in The Last Jedi was celebrated as the first major Star Wars role for an Asian actress. However, Tran was also the subject of racist and sexist online attacks, which she said, “reinforced a narrative I had heard my whole life: that I was ‘other’, that I didn’t belong.” This time, though, several fans were outspoken about Tran’s lack of screen-time in The Rise of Skywalker.
While some fans have interpreted her reduced screentime as pandering to the earlier critics, Terrio maintains that "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."
Despite mixed reviews, J.J. Abram’s Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of the Skywalker dominated at the box office on Christmas Day. The trilogy-ender took in an impressive $35 million. That makes it the second-highest-grossing Christmas day result for Abram’s within the Star Wars canon. In 2015, The Force Awakens made $49.3 million.