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
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.
I remember #WheresRey around the first Force Friday, but what makes #WheresRose more insidious is all the evidence of where she was designed into merch and then willfully removed. The fan conduct toward Rose/KMT was shameful and catering to those fans sends the worst message pic.twitter.com/D85iLBghos
— Jenny Nicholson (@JennyENicholson) October 4, 2019
— What the Force? 🦋 (@Wtforceshow) October 4, 2019
Boba f**king Fett is in like maybe 10 minutes of ALL the movies and there are 8000 ridiculous shirts of his stupid face so #WheresRose Lucasfilm?
I don't care if she's in TRoS for 5 seconds, I want my Rose merch.
— Dani 🦋Rian cast Adam🦋 (@CardiganVixen) October 4, 2019
Remember when kelly marie tran as rose tico became the first Asian woman to be on the cover of Vanity Fair? It's fucking disgusting how they're treating her character rn just to please racist and sexist fucktards who contribute nothing to the fandom but hate #WheresRose pic.twitter.com/UnvjgBAEKl
— alex✨ (@scavengerben) October 5, 2019
After Kelly Marie Tan literally got bullied and harassed off of social media, then had the courage to write an amazing NY Times piece on the importance of seeing someone like her on screen, to have her character deliberately removed from mere merch? Beyond shameful. #WheresRose
— Swara Ahmed (@swarzseawalker) October 5, 2019
— Gerry The Canon Junkie (@thecanonjunkie) October 6, 2019
kelly is so passionate about Star Wars, was so enthusiastic about her role. it was so refreshing to see that level of passion. so yeah it fucking sucks that her character is being erased bc grown ass men can’t calm down and seperate fiction from reality #wheresrose pic.twitter.com/VJS5NcTRgN
— rose tico warrior (@spaceypriestess) October 5, 2019
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.
— 𝐚𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐛𝐥𝐨𝐬𝐬𝐨𝐦 (@_afterblossom_) September 30, 2019
Today is the caretaker's monthly celebration, Rose had a great time and learned how to dance. pic.twitter.com/91w6nLFrBd
— 𝐚𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐛𝐥𝐨𝐬𝐬𝐨𝐦 (@_afterblossom_) October 2, 2019
Watching sunset in Tatooine pic.twitter.com/g4GMqLBUGo
— 𝐚𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐛𝐥𝐨𝐬𝐬𝐨𝐦 (@_afterblossom_) October 4, 2019
Swimming in the lake of Naboo pic.twitter.com/gz0V4ucUgU
— 𝐚𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐛𝐥𝐨𝐬𝐬𝐨𝐦 (@_afterblossom_) October 6, 2019
Rose made a mistake.
She shouldn't order a roasted chicken, now they are making a scene in the diner. pic.twitter.com/g4L7NIlHtd
— 𝐚𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐛𝐥𝐨𝐬𝐬𝐨𝐦 (@_afterblossom_) October 8, 2019
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
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.