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Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico in 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker'

There’s been plenty for fans to debate where Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is concerned. And one of the most prevalent topics of discussion surrounding Episode 9 has been around the presence - or lack thereof - of Rose Tico. Now, one of the film’s writers has attempted to offer an explanation for why she had such limited screen time.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was co-written by J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio. The latter sat down for a conversation with Awards Daily, where he addressed how he got involved with Star Wars and the challenges he faced as a screenwriter. When asked about the buzz surrounding Kelly Marie Tran’s reduced role in the final installment of the Skywalker Saga, Chris Terrio was ready to offer an explanation connected to the late Carrie Fisher and the unused General Leia footage brought back for Episode IX:

Well, first of all, J.J. and I adore Kelly Marie Tran. 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. 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. 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. Those scenes unfortunately fell out of the film. The last thing we were doing was deliberately trying to sideline Rose. We adore the character, and we adore Kelly – so much so that we anchored her with our favorite person in this galaxy, General Leia.

It’s a plausible explanation, but one that fans could definitely still find fault in. And it is unlikely to quiet the uproar surrounding one of the most divisive characters in the Star Wars’ franchise. When fans realized that Rose Tico’s role had been reduced to almost nothing in The Rise of Skywalker, they took to Twitter to air their grievances. And some couldn’t help but argue that both Kelly Marie Tran and Rose Tico deserved better following the backlash they faced following The Last Jedi.

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Kelly Marie Tran, thus far, hasn’t responded to the new fervor over her character. But last year, she did open up about the harassment she faced on social media after The Last Jedi and how it affected her mental health. And there could still be a chance for her to revisit the Star Wars universe once more, if she’s up for it. Some Star Wars fans are already looking ahead -- and calling for Rose Tico to have her own spinoff TV series.