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The Star Wars franchise is in a fascinating place right now, as we're coming to the end of the Skywalker Saga. The property's nine-film main narrative will wrap up with J.J. Abrams' The Rise of Skywalker, so the pressure is on to deliver a satisfying conclusion. Episode IX's contents are still largely a mystery at this point, with a limited about of footage and images surfacing ahead of its release. Some epic art was recently revealed, which pushed Kelly Marie Tran's Rose Tico to the side line. But it turns out that the character's treatment had a valid reason.
Rose Tico made her debut in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and was the subject of some backlash after its release. Kelly Marie Tran was the victim of online bullying, so much so that she left social media altogether. So when a new poster left Rose out, fans were concerned. Now artist Brian Rood has explained the character's treatment, saying:
Well, that's a relief. It looks like Rose Tico wasn't given prime location on the new artwork because the character's material from The Rise of Skywalker wasn't provided. Not because she's being swept under the rug. Still, it might be enough to get a #Justice4Rose trending ahead of the highly anticipated blockbuster's release.
Brian Rood's tweet helps to clear up the situation, as Rose as a character has been the subject of much conversation following her debut in Rian Johnson's subversive sequel. Some Star Wars fans took umbrage with The Last Jedi, and the various changes Johnson made to the overall canon. While Rose Tico had an emotionally-driven story, she was tied in with Finn's journey to Canto Bight. That side quest is one of the least favorite plots in Episode VIII, which hurt the new character's reception.
Following the online backlash, Kelly Marie Tran left social media indefinitely. Various members from the Star Wars community came to the actress' defense, including Mark Hamill and John Boyega. She'll reprise her role for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, although she's been noticeably absent from the film's marketing so far. What's more, there was some reports that some of the online hate came from foreign bots, rather than genuine cinephiles.
Rose Tico hasn't been seen in any of the trailers for J.J. Abrams' upcoming blockbuster, no doubt disappointing the fans who have come to her defense in the years since Star Wars: The Last Jedi hit theaters in 2017. Obviously there are still a few months and trailers/TV spots coming as we get close to the movie's release. But combining her lack of screen time so far with the above artwork snafu, and it makes sense that some fans are concerned.
Still Kelly Marie Tran is in the cast of The Rise of Skywalker. We got one brief glimpse at Rose during the movie's presentation at D23 Expo. What's more, an exhibit with the movie's costume revealed that Rose has moved up in The Resistance during the time jump since The Last Jedi. But the movie's plot is being kept under wraps, as well as how Rose will help help fight the ongoing galactic war.
We should expect at least one more full trailer for The Rise of Skywalker ahead of its release, hopefully including Rose Tico. The franchise is methodical about its marketing campaign, in an attempt to keep each film's secrets until their release. It's an effort that has paid off, with Lucasfilm showing no signs of changing its ways. But the move is just months away, so more information should be coming soon.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will hit theaters on December 20th. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.