Fans Ask Why Rose Tico Got Removed from Episode IX Merchandise
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#WheresRose Campaign Asks Lucasfilm Why Rose Tico Got Removed From Star Wars Merch

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BY April 28, 2020

Kelly Marie Tran’s character in Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the first Asian-presenting figure in the space saga that drew so much from filmmakers like Akira Kurosawa. However, in the time since the previews of the new Star Wars merchandise and their release, fans are asking on social media “Where’s Rose?” It seems Rose Tico has been removed from t-shirts, posters, and other merchandise after appearing on the previews of these items. Fans noticed this, taking to social media to complain about Rose Tico erasure using the hashtag #WheresRose. Unfortunately, this campaign hasn’t made enough noise to warrant a response from Lucasfilm or parent company Disney. Yet, some fans have their own theories as to why Rose went missing, and it’s not a great reason.

Rose Tico and Kelly Marie Tran Caught a Lot of Hate from Angry Fans

Kelly Marie Tran Star Wars Celebration Image via screengrab

Rian Johnson’s middle installment of this latest Skywalker Saga trilogy proved to be controversial for a number of reasons. Some fans, it seems, were genuinely disappointed by how the filmmaker treated the character of Luke Skywalker. However, a small (but vocal) minority of fans seemed to resent the characters themselves. Daisy Ridley’s Rey ended up labeled a “Mary Sue” because she’s as easily proficient with the Force as both Luke and Anakin Skywalker. John Boyega’s Finn faced backlash because some people thought a person with dark skin couldn’t be a Stormtrooper. But no one received as much hate as Kelly Marie Tran for her portrayal of Rose Tico, which is why some think she’s been removed from merchandise.

The hate directed at Tran became so targeted and intense that she ended up fleeing social media. Earlier this year, at Star Wars Celebration, the fans let Tran know how they felt about her. When she took the stage at the Episode IX panel (and later out on the convention floor) fans cheered for her and chanted her name. For Star Wars die-hards, Rico Tico remains an appreciated character, removed from any dissatisfaction about The Last Jedi. Even if they find her and Finn’s story extraneous, they don’t hate the character. Still, because so many people were famously “angry online” about Rose, her fans believe that Disney, Lucasfilm, or both are catering to that hateful minority by erasing her from merchandise.

Rose Tico Removed from Posters, Shirts, and Other Merchandise

Using the #WheresRose hashtag, fans posted examples of how Rose Tico ended up removed from merchandise. The most egregious one involves a shirt that, during previews, featured Rose and the world “Rebel” in stylized letters. Now that the shirt is for sale, however, the letters remain but the image of Rose Tico was removed. This also happened on a series of shirts derived from poster and marketing images. These showcase Rey, Poe, Finn, and even new characters like Star Wars cutie Babu Frik and Naomi Ackie’s Jannah. Still, while Rose Tico appeared on the preview images for these products, she ended up removed from the ones released for sale. It also appears that she is the only character to have gone through such revisions on these products.

One fan going by the handle “Afterblossom” even drew a visual narrative about Rose going on an “adventure” to explain where the character is after being removed from the merchandise.

Lucasfilm and Disney have yet to comment on this. For what it’s worth, we at Comic Years hope that Rose Tico fans can get the shirts, posters, and other merchandise they want. There are pieces of Rose Tico merchandise out there, and she’s not been removed from the children’s books based on Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker. Yet, there is something fishy about how she ended up erased from the Triple Force Friday products after being featured in the marketing push for it.

Why do you think Rose Tico got removed from these products? Is it because of the controversy or do you think there is a rational reason for it? Share your thoughts in the comments or shout us out on social media.

Featured image via Lucasfilm

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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 of superhero short stories, Tales of Adventure & Fantasy: Book One is available as an ebook or paperback from Amazon.


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