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.
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.
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.