Following months of harassment, Kelly Marie Tran, the first women of color to have a leading role in a Star Wars movie, deleted all her Instagram posts. “It wasn’t their words, it’s that I started to believe them,” she later wrote about the online bullying. “Their words seemed to confirm what growing up as a woman and a person of color already taught me: that I belonged in margins and spaces, valid only as a minor character in their lives and stories.” Tran, who isn’t sure she’ll ever return to social media, doesn’t want anyone else to face the abuse she went through, which is why she spoke to Naomi Ackie, who joined the Star Wars universe for The Rise of Skywalker, about dealing with trolls.
“I think watching the experience of Kelly Marie Tran and talking to her, I got a lot of inspiration from her about how to grow a thicker skin when it comes to people’s opinions of not just your work, [but also] who you are,” Ackie recently told Metro. There’s a difference. That’s a challenge but I’m fired up. I feel good about it ultimately.” She added that because there’s so much time between shooting the film and when it comes out, “I feel like I’m in a good place, I’m ready for people to see it. And, hey, I think it’s gonna be great. If people don’t like it, they don’t like it. And if they don’t like me, that’s alright.”
In The Rise of Skywalker, Ackie (who also appears in the new season of The End of the F***ing World) plays Jannah, an ally of the Resistance who “comes into contact with the rest of the group at a point where they need some help,” she explained, referring to Rey, Finn, and Poe. Meanwhile, Tran is reprising her role as Rose Tico.