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‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Writer Chris Terrio Says They Weren’t Trying to Sideline Rose Tico

The "Skywalker" scribe explains how Kelly Marie Tran's limited screen time had to do with the late Carrie Fisher's appearance as Princess Leia.

Kelly Marie Tran, "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"

Kelly Marie Tran, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

Lucasfilm

UPDATED BELOW.

A certain faction of “Star Wars” fans was not happy with the barely-there inclusion of Kelly Marie Tran’s scrappy Resistance fighter Rose Tico in “The Rise of Skywalker,” which is currently in theaters and being picked apart and obsessed over by critics and fans alike. Even “Crazy Rich Asians” director Jon M. Chu recently took to Twitter to call for a Disney+ spinoff series devoted to Rose, who originated in “The Last Jedi,” a la “The Mandalorian.”

In a new interview with Awards Daily, “The Rise of Skywalker” co-screenwriter Chris Terrio (who worked with J.J. Abrams from a story by Derek Connolly and shafted director Colin Trevorrow) addressed the apparent sidelining of Rose, who was a major supporting character in Rian Johnson’s “Last Jedi” in 2017. In “Skywalker,” she appears for all of one minute and 16 seconds, if you’re counting, out of a total runtime of two hours and 22 minutes. (Fans have even pointed out that Rose Tico’s sister has more screen time in “The Last Jedi” — her character appears in the opening scene and is killed off — than Rose does in “The Rise of Skywalker.”)

“Well, first of all, J.J. and I adore Kelly Marie Tran,” Terrio told Awards Daily, explaining how the amount of screen time given to Tran was actually cut because of how her character had to share scenes with the late Carrie Fisher.

“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,” Terrio said.

“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,” he said, echoing support for the fan-favorite character of Rose.

Back in November, a pre-release interview with Tran foreshadowed her limited screen time in “The Rise of Skywalker.” Tran said she was excited for “Star Wars” fans to see Rose and Daisy Ridley’s series protagonist Rey interact, but those scenes don’t exist in “Rise of Skywalker.”

UPDATE: In response to the Awards Daily interview, Chris Terrio has issued the following statement: “I badly misspoke if in an earlier statement I implied that any cut scenes between Rose and Leia were the fault of our VFX team and the wizards at ILM. In that earlier interview, I was referring to a specific scene in which Leia’s emotional state in Episode 7 did not seem to match the scene we wrote for use in Episode 9, and so it was cut at the script stage (before the VFX work was done). If we had chosen to use the scene, ILM would have made it look perfect. They always do. ILM performed actual miracles at every stage of the creative process in Episode IX.  I remain in awe of their work.”

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