Minor spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
If you were a fan of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, you were probably bummed to see that Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) is barely in The Rise of Skywalker. A major character in the previous film, Rose now has about as much to do as an unnamed Resistance technician played by Dominic Monaghan. So what happened? Why did writers J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio severely diminish Rose’s role?
According to Terrio, that wasn’t their intent and they were hampered by technical difficulties. Speaking to Awards Daily [via The Playlist], Terrio explained, ““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. 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.”
Terrio continued, “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. 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.”
While this seems well-intentioned, you have to keep in mind that Carrie Fisher passed away before filming on The Rise of Skywalker even commenced, so they knew it would be a gamble to try and bring Leia into the movie at all even with the leftover footage they had from The Force Awakens. It boils down to the same problem that they didn’t think Rose was an essential character because they knew that even if the Leia stuff didn’t work, it wouldn’t be a loss to the overall narrative to lose Rose as well.
Personally, I think that’s a major miscalculation on their part. For starters, if your Leia issue hinges on tech, then it would have been wiser to stick her with Maz Kanata, who is tuned into the Force things that Leia does in this film. Second, imagine if after Empire Strikes Back they had decided that Lando only needed to be in Return of the Jedi for less than two minutes. That’s basically what happened here with Rose.
I believe Terrio that they didn’t deliberately sideline Rose and that there’s no malice towards the character or Tran. But I also believe that they put the character in a disposable position because Rise of Skywalker is constantly trying to ignore The Last Jedi. For more on that, click here.