There have been a number of complaints about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but perhaps the biggest one is the dearth of Rose Tico, the rebel played by Kelly Marie Tran. Rose played a major supporting role in The Last Jedi, even starting what seemed to be a budding romance with John Boyega’s Finn. But she was barely in its follow-up, causing some to speculate that the writers had capitulated to the trolls, many of them racist, who drove the actress off of social media. Now we have an explanation, sort of.
Chris Terrio, one of the two credited screenwriters, was speaking to Awards Daily (as caught by Entertainment Weekly) when he was asked point-blank about the Rose shortage. Turns out she her total screentime was supposed to be more than a minute-and-change.
“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 Fisher’s footage in the way we wanted to,” Terrio revealed. “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 who 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.”
Terrio said that they all “adore” Tran as well as Rose, adding that “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, General Leia.”
That doesn’t explain why Rose shares so few moments with the main crew, including Finn, especially considering this was, at least at some point, to be the final film in the nine-movie Skywalker saga, and therefore maybe the final time we’d see the characters. It’s worth noting that one of the main production stills for the film shows Rose speaking to Daisy Ridley’s Rey, suggesting there was perhaps more Rose in the film at some point.