Why Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s Rose Tico Is Such A Big Step Forward, According To Kelly Marie Tran

Rose Tico in The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been out for a little over a week, and the generations of fans are still reeling from Rian Johnson's bold breaking installment. Johnson's film was purposefully subversive, and truly challenged everything fans believed going into the theater. In addition to providing the much needed return of Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker, The Last Jedi also introduced some new characters to the galaxy far, far away. Chief among them was Rose Tico, played with grit and quirkiness by actress Kelly Marie Tran. Rose is the first major Asian character in the franchise, and Tran recently opened up about the importance of inclusivity in the beloved property, saying:

It's been both an honor and a responsibility. I feel so overwhelmed. I remember what it felt like to not see anyone like myself in books or on film or TV. When you're really young, you tend to fall in love with characters. If you start seeing the same type of character everywhere and realize that they don't look like you, or they don't speak like you, you start wanting to change who you are. That's something that I did when I was a young kid. I'm excited to be a part of this positive change.

It looks like Kelly Marie Tran truly understands how groundbreaking of a moment this is for the Star Wars franchise, and what it potentially means to the younger fans of the property. The call for inclusion has been a hot topic in film and TV production, and there is no franchise quite as iconic as Star Wars.

Kelly Marie Tran's comments to Variety echoes calls for more Asian representation in popular movies. There has been quite a few cases of white washing the in past few years, making the cause even stronger in its resolve.

While Rose Rico may be the first major Asian character in Star Wars, the new trilogy has already been applauded for having a more inclusive cast than previous installments. The trio of new heroes introduced in The Force Awakens are made up of a female Jedi, a black man, and a latino American in Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac, respectively. Abrams also previously voiced his hope for LBGT characters within the Star Wars franchise, allowing it to catch up to the Star Trek property in terms of its inclusivity.

Kelly Marie Tran went on to express for privileged she feels to potentially be a role model for Asian Star Wars fans. That, along with awesome moments like meeting R2-D2, are what she seems most proud of with her stint as Rose Tico.

A lot of Star Wars fans who are specifically Asian never had a character they could dress up like, or they would and people would always call them 'Asian Rey' or 'Asian fill-in-the-blank.' I get very emotional when I see people who are able to identify with this character. That means a lot to me and I don't think it will ever get old.

And luckily for us, Rose Tico will likely be returning in J.J. Abrams' untitled Episode IX film, where hopefully the love triangle between Rey, Finn, and Rose will come to a head.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is in theaters now, and Solo: A Star Wars Story is currently set to arrive on May 25th, 2018. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.