Tomorrow, September 1, 2017 is Force Friday II. Star Wars will release a deluge of toys, clothing, and other merchandise related to the upcoming release of The Last Jedi. To get fans hyped, Lucasfilm is releasing previews throughout the day today, on a variety of websites. As more information is revealed, Star Wars fans will divide into two categories: those who excitedly pick over every detail and those who will spend the next two months shopping with their eyes closed lest a toy spoil part of the film for them. Obviously I am part of the first group.
Case in point: The action figure for Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran), first revealed by The Hollywood Reporter. The Hasbro toy is our best look yet at Tran’s character, who is a maintenance worker in the Resistance before she becomes entangled with Finn on a mission to Canto Bight. In an preview from Vanity Fair back in May, we also learned Rose has a sister named Paige (Veronica Ngo), a gunner for the Resistance who works with Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). Outside of that, Rose has been a mystery. Now her action figure reveals a little more about her; from her place in the Resistance hierarchy to her proficiency with weapons.
The lettering on Rose’s jumpsuit is the Star Wars language of Aurebesh. Basically a letter-swapping code for English, Aurebesh is easy to translate. While the smaller letters are too small to read, the three large ones translate to “GLD” which stands for “Ground Logistics Division.” Audiences were first introduced to this crucial cog in the Resistance machine in The Force Awakens via operations monitor Vober Dand. As you can see, the alien (and a human woman in the background) are both wearing uniforms similar to the one worn by Rose.
The GLD was founded in the year 28 ABY, the same year Senator Leia Organa resigned from the Galactic Senate to form the Resistance. Past iterations of Star Wars have focused on the “glamorous” parts of rebellion; the battles, the heroes, the nail-biting close calls. But for every Luke Skywalker or Poe Dameron saving the day, there are dozens of workers making sure everything runs smoothly. X-Wings must be maintained the fueled, spacesuits must be cleaned and serviced, weapons must be catalogued and repaired. In the Resistance, those jobs fall under the jurisdiction of the GLD. Moving one of those workers from nameless cog to main character is another indication of just how far Star Wars is moving away from a focus on high-profile heroes in villains. In the past, the best Rose Tico could’ve hoped for would be a place on the periphery, where only extreme Star Wars fans would even know she had a name, while her sister (the Resistance gunner) would’ve been part of a more traditional narrative for a galaxy far, far away. Now? Now Rose is armed with a blaster and a chance to prove anyone — no matter how far down the ladder of power — can be a hero.
That’s a message the world could use.