Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is a polarizing finale to a franchise that has spanned more than 40 years. Out of the many issues that both fans and critics have taken with the film, the most glaring of them is the complete sidelining of Rose Tico, played by Kelly Marie Tran. Introduced in the second film of the sequel trilogy, Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, Rose joined Finn on a mission Canto Bight and was a big part of the film. Naturally, fans expected her to have an equally big role in The Rise of Skywalker—or, you know, just get some quality screentime. But Tran’s role was reduced to a background character on the rebel base.
Now one of the film’s screenwriters, Chris Terrio, has explained why Tran didn’t appear much on-screen, but his answer is not exactly satisfying.
“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,” he said in an interview with Awards Daily. “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.”
Terrio went on to explain that scenes of Rose and Leia were cut from the film that apparently used a CGI-Leia. “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,” he said in the interview. “Those scenes unfortunately fell out of the film.”
Terrio’s explanation doesn’t address why we don’t see Rose in action scenes with the other main characters—especially Finn, whom she befriended in the last film. Even if we saw more scenes of Rose with Leia, it still wouldn’t have made sense for the character that Johnson created. We see Rose going on adventures, taking risks, and fighting in The Last Jedi. Why would she want to stay on the rebel base after all that? There is more of an explanation of her post-TLJ role in supplemental material like the novel Resistance Reborn, but that doesn’t make up for Tran’s lean screentime in The Rise of Skywalker. Terrio is also essentially using Fisher’s 2016 death as a reason why another female character did not get more screentime.
Many people saw the film’s sidelining of Rose as Disney bending to the sector of fans who hated the character. Tran received so much racist and sexist harassment after TLJ that she deleted all of her posts on Instagram. (She currently has no posts up.) Even now, more than two years after the film’s release, you can still find posts of people criticizing the actress and her character on social media sites. And those people are happy that Rose didn’t get more scenes in the final film of the Skywalker Saga.
Another factor here was the timeline. Lucasfilm was on a schedule to release the films in the sequel trilogy every two years. And, no matter if you liked The Rise of Skywalker or not, most people agree that it felt rushed in some parts. The film could have benefitted from both a longer runtime and a longer production schedule—especially after Lucasfilm fired the original director, Colin Trevorrow. But blaming the lack of Rose scenes on bad technology is a poor excuse. After all, Disney was able to make CGI scenes work in 2016’s Rogue One. Hopefully, though, we’ll get to see some of these scenes in the extras once the digital version of the film is released.