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Co-Writer Explains Why Rose Tico Scenes Were Cut from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

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BY December 31, 2019
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One of the most disappointing things about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was that Kelly Marie Tran’s character barely appears in the movie. With just a little more than a minute of screen time, the character is about as important to the story as C3PO was to the story in The Force Awakens. If they’d given her a red arm, we might not have even recognized her. Well, co-writer Chris Terrio spoke up recently to explain why Rose Tico scenes ended up cut from The Rise of Skywalker. She did have a larger arc in the film at one point. However, the loss of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia forced them to essentially remove the story from the film.

A narrative on social media and in some of the entertainment press is that The Rise of Skywalker cut their Rose Tico scenes in response to backlash to The Last Jedi. While that should, on its face, be ridiculous, the idea persists. Unfortunately, because a vocal minority of Star Wars “fans” were upset by the film, some used it as an excuse to harass Tran. So constant was the deluge of hate for the young actor, she erased her social media presence. Coming back with a big, important story for her character would have been a defiant middle finger to those online trolls. Yet, Terrio says that the Rose Tico scenes were cut from The Rise of Skywalker for practical reasons.

Why They Cut a Number of Rose Tico Scenes from The Rise of Skywalker

Rose Tico Scenes Cut The Rise of Skywalker Kelly Marie Tran Image via Lucasfilm

Screenwriter Chris Terrio co-wrote the screenplay for the new Star Wars film. His co-writer, J.J. Abrams recently dismissed critics by saying they are “right” no matter what they say about the movie. It’s a magnanimous answer that both acknowledges and dismisses the criticism at the same time. Terrio, however, wants to make things clear about the intention behind the film. Along with stating (again) that the film is in no way an undoing of its predecessor, he revealed why Rose Tico scenes had to be cut from The Rise of Skywalker.

As he told AwardsDaily.com:

“Well, first of all, J.J. and I adore Kelly Marie Tran. 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…. 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 whom we love, so Leia and Rose were working together. 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.”

Terrio later clarified his statement, saying that the problem occurred at the writing level and not with ILM. He praised the VFX artists that completed the impossible task of inserting Carrie Fisher’s character into the film using only deleted footage from The Force Awakens. The problem, he clarifies, was that the limited footage they had of Fisher’s performance limited what they could bring to life when the time came. Since the film is two-and-a-half hours, they opted to cut the Rose Tico scenes from The Rise of Skywalker. Since it is Star Wars, a comic book, a novel, or even a Disney+ series could do the story justice.

What do you think of the reason the Rose Tico scenes ended up cut from The Rise of Skywalker? What would you have cut out to make room for more Rose scenes? Share your thoughts, reactions, and gripes in the comments below.

Featured image via screengrab

MoviesPop CultureRose TicoStar WarsStar Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

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.

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