There are an alarming number of ways The Rise of Skywalker reverses course from what we previously saw in The Last Jedi, with perhaps the most obvious one being how Kelly Marie Tran’s character, the delightful Rose Tico, was sidelined offscreen for the majority of the film. Nobody with creative Star Wars involvement has meaningfully discussed the reason behind Tran’s limited role since the film was released earlier this month, but now, in a new interview with Awards Daily, screenwriter Chris Terrio unpacked why he and fellow screenwriter J.J. Abrams were required to minimize her role. “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,” Terrio explained. “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.”
Terrio insisted that while he and Abrams “adore” Tran, the CGI required for the two characters ultimately wasn’t strong enough to use, so every scene the duo shared at the rebel base had to be cut. “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.” If that explanation suits you, it’s time to get back to worshipping Babu Frik.
Update, December 30: In a statement to Vulture, Terrio clarified that Tran’s cut scenes had nothing to do with the work of The Rise of Skywalker’s visual-effects team. Rather, it was a narrative decision. “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,” Terrio said. “In that earlier interview, I was referring to a specific scene in which Leia’s emotional state in Episode VII did not seem to match the scene we wrote for use in Episode IX, 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.”