The Oscars are not just about the winners, it’s also a chance to get answers. Actors, directors, and executives are, sometimes, off their guard. Entertainment journalists can get more candid answers about touchy subjects more easily than on a press tour. Luckily, Joshua Horowitz of MTV News did Star Wars fans everywhere a solid. Kelly Marie Tran finally spoke about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and the reaction to the amount of screen time Rose had in that film. Her response provides important context to the ongoing and perpetual arguments amongst fans.
Tran did appear on the press tour for the final film in the Skywalker saga. She even got to interact with a pair of fans who made physical scrapbook to fans’ “Where is Rose?” campaign when the character seemed absent from the film’s marketing. Yet, once the film released, most of the marketing push seemed to stop. Perhaps it was for good reason, as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is past the $1 billion mark at the box office. It is the third highest-grossing Star Wars film of all-time and maintains the earning patterns of previous trilogies.
Yet, fans who care about Star Wars don’t really care about the box office earnings. Rather, they care about the integrity of the story and the characters. In that respect, some fans felt disappointed by Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Rose Tico’s lack of screen time was one of those sticking points, and Kelly Marie Tran offering her reaction can help settle that particular argument.
Lack of Screen Time for Rose Is Not a Problem for Kelly Marie Tran
Image via Lucasfilm
Outside of the Oscars, on the red carpet, Horowitz got the chance to speak to the Star Wars actor. She’s not spoken about the film nor the controversy surrounding Rose Tico scenes cut from The Rise of Skywalker. It would put her on the spot if he asked about it directly, though. So, he cleverly asked Kelly Marie Tran to comment on the fan reaction to the lack of screen time for Rose in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. She began reminding everyone of the important context that The Last Jedi was her first-ever film.
“So, I think I’m finally starting to realize that when you’re in something of that caliber, there’s so many people working to make something out of love. And no matter what you do there’s always going to be people that aren’t happy with that. But, I think that the best lesson I’ve learned, is just to have fun and be present in the moment. So, um, I’m really grateful that I got to be a part of it….
“I think that I am really just amazed at the way that J.J. was able to sort of wrap up all of these incredible stories. There were so many characters! At the end of the day I got to be part of something bigger than me, and that’s really special.”
— MTV NEWS (@MTVNEWS) February 10, 2020
It’s an eloquent answer, but that’s likely because Tran is an eloquent person. That said, this could feel like the polite-in-public answer that one must give in these situations. Yet, there is no reason to doubt her, either. Does she, as an actor, wish perhaps Rose had a larger role? Does she wish that her character had something more interesting to do than run back-up for the A-Team? Of course! Mark Hamill often spoke about how he wished Luke fell to the dark side in Return of the Jedi. Not because it makes story sense or is true to the character. No, he wanted that because it would have been fun to play. Tran certainly would have accepted a larger role. However, what she says about the role she played makes a kind of beautiful sense.
Her Take on Rose and Screen Time Shows Kelly Marie Tran Is the Best of Star Wars
Image via Lucasfilm
Kelly Marie Tran did not grow up with Star Wars. So, her introduction to these stories as a fan is a recent development. Yet, that outsider’s perspective has allowed her to see what die-hard Star Wars fans should’ve seen long ago. Star Wars is a property that changes with each generation but is also exactly the same. It’s a myth, passed down from generation to generation. Her parents, refugees from Vietnam, did not pass these stories on to her. Now, as Rose, she will help pass them on to every successive generation. In the expanded universe, she knows that (with or without her) Rose Tico will live on in comics, novels, games, and cartoons. Remember, John Chu wants to make a Rose Tico series for Disney+, and Rose’s fans have shown there’s an audience for it.
Star Wars fans are somewhat broken right now, and the locus of that break happened with The Last Jedi backlash. It would be understandable if Tran was outraged at Lucasfilm and J.J. Abrams. It looks like they reduced Rose’s role for no good reason, even if that’s not the truth. With her reaction, Kelly Marie Tran rationalizes Rose Tico’s lack of screen time in a perfect way. This film had so many stories to wrap up, and Rose’s inclusion is nonetheless a gift. In fact, by not telling her story in The Rise of Skywalker, Rose Tico will get to have countless adventures in Star Wars expanded media. Star Wars is bigger than any one actor, but everyone involved has a touch of immortality.
Did Kelly Marie Tran’s Answer Satisfy You?
Image via screengrab
As mentioned above, there are likely those who love Rose’s character that will not be satisfied by this answer. They will still believe the character and Tran herself were robbed. It all comes down to whether or not you believe that Tran meant what she said. Personally, I believe she’s sincere, and I admit that’s simply in part because I hope she is okay with how everything went. Being in Star Wars is a strange kind of privilege. Other than perhaps for Harrison Ford, the films hang about the necks of their actors like golden anchors. Even actors who have excellent careers beyond the films, like Ewan McGregor or Natalie Portman, are asked about Star Wars all the time. McGregor especially can’t promote a new project without people asking if he’ll ever be Obi Wan again.
The cast of the sequel trilogy are just learning this. All that people will remember for the next few years is the fan rancor. (Pun definitely intended.) This could last for some time. In fact, only in the past few years have the prequel actors started to see how they are appreciated by an aging fanbase. There is a whole generation of kids out there who will one day grow up to be adult Star Wars fans. They will love Luke, Han, Vader, and everyone else. But they will love Rey, Finn, Rose, and Poe a little bit more. Because those characters are their Star Wars characters. And if Lucasfilm and Disney are smart, they will give those fans more of them.
What do you think of Rose Tico’s lack of screen time and the reaction from Kelly Marie Tran about it? Give us your take in the comments below!
Featured image via screengrab
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.