Kelly Marie Tran faced an uphill battle from the moment Lucasfilm cast her as Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Despite being a talented actress, she had little to work with in terms of what Rian Johnson laid out for her character. Sadly, Rose is now widely regarded as one of the worst characters in all of Star Wars… through no fault of Tran’s. Recently the Raya and the Last Dragon actress spoke about one of the scenes that contributed to fandom’s opinion of the character. Though many might disagree with her regarding the scene’s impact, there’s no question that her perspective is admirable.
Usually at this point I’d say “we’re of course talking about…” Unfortunately there are too many scenes of The Last Jedi that faced criticism for the reference to be that obvious. In this case though, we’re talking about the Canto Bight sequence. For Kelly Marie Tran, the scene mimics real-world class division, and how opulence masks oppression. It’s not hard to appreciate how Tran, herself the victim of racism and misogyny, would welcome the opportunity to highlight such a poignant social dilemma.
Kelly Marie Tran discusses filming the Canto Bight scene of Star Wars: The Last Jedi
“That scene does a lot for really recognizing how certain communities who are able to enjoy their privilege live in a world where they don’t even have to address some of the horrible things other people are dealing with. I love that scene.”~ Kelly Marie Tran to Collider
She would go on to explain:
“I always want to think about, what is this person really feeling in this moment, and be really specific and really understand that part of human existence. And I think that if you can do that, if you can as much as possible just be honest and be okay with being seen even if it’s scary, then I think people understand that and are able to relate to that.”
Sadly for Kelly Marie Tran, the scene was not well received. Perhaps if presented in a different way fans might have embraced the sentiment behind the Canto Bight sequence more fully. As it occurred in The Last Jedi however, Rose and Finn’s side quest just felt like unnecessary, over-the-top exposition. That’s a shame, because the message is an important one. Had more thought gone into its presentation, perhaps fans would have felt differently about the character.