Right around this time last year, very few people knew who Daisy Ridley was. The young actress had been cast as a character in J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and I believe by this point, we’d seen her in a black-and-white table read photograph, but she’d yet to fully become Rey, the focal point of a new trilogy of Star Wars films. Today, thanks to the enormous success of The Force Awakens, Daisy Ridley’s a household name. I wonder if she has any advice for Kelly Marie Tran.
Who? Great question. When Disney revealed that Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode 8 had begun production, they also unveiled a full cast list. Benicio Del Toro was confirmed, and Laura Dern was a surprise reveal. Then, we learned that newcomer Kelly Marie Tran would be part of the ensemble that already included Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie and Andy Serkis. More Maz Kanata. Sweet!
So, what do we know about Kelly Marie Tran? The rising star dipped her toe in the water via a series of shorts in 2011: Untouchable, The Rising Cost of Cosmetics, and Impressions. She also appeared in a series of Web shorts for College Humor, including this educational guide to women’s periods, aimed at men:
Eventually, Kelly Marie Tran graduated to television work. She appeared in episodes of the 2013 series Ladies Like Us, was a guest star on Lifetime’s Fall Into Me, co-starred in the pilot of TruTV’s Adam Ruins Everything, and has a supporting role in a Netflix project XoXo. Her various headshots, found on BreakdownExpress.com, show off her comedic side… as do most of the projects on her resume.
Does that mean that Rian Johnson needs Kelly Marie Tran to play a lighter, more comedic role? It’s possible. The middle chapter of each previous Star Wars trilogy usually indicates when the shit is about to hit the fan. Star Wars: The Force Awakens eliminated the series’ comic relief in Han Solo (Harrison Ford), so Johnson might have recruited Tran for this reason. But it’s pure speculation, as Disney isn’t talking.
What we do know for sure is that Kelly Marie Tran’s life is about to change, forever. Young actors cast in major film franchises are thrust into the white-hot spotlight of celebrity, and the one generated by Star Wars is unprecedented. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac will help deflect some of that interest, for sure, but right now, the world will be curious about who Kelly Marie Tran is, and who she is playing in Star Wars: Episode 8. We can’t wait to hear from her soon
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.