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Where’s Rose?

Originally published July 12, 2018

STAR WARS EPISODE IX is set to begin principal photography this month. Under the direction of THE FORCE AWAKENS director J.J. Abrams, many of the actors from the previous films of the sequel trilogy have been long since confirmed to make their return; including Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Adam Driver. It’s also been recently announced that Billy Dee Williams, at long last, is making his return as Lando Calrissian, and that Keri Russell is in talks to possibly join the cast as well.

But there is one name in particular whose role in this final installment of the Skywalker saga has yet to be confirmed, and that is that of actor Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico). When we last saw Rose in THE LAST JEDI, she was unconscious after running her ship into Finn’s, to stop him from sacrificing himself to the First Order. Finn, a changed man, is seen tucking her into bed aboard the Millennium Falcon, accompanied by the remaining members of the Resistance.

THE LAST JEDI is the most divisive STAR WARS film to date among viewers, and in the heat of it all, Tran received sexist and racist comments from bullies online who have no lives. It got to be so bad that as of last month, she deleted all of her posts from Instagram. She has not been online since then.

The character of Rose is an important one in the STAR WARS universe. While she is not the first Asian American in the overall franchise to play a lead, she is the first Asian American lead in the films. After going four decades without seeing an actor in such a role, seeing her onscreen for the first time was a pivotal moment.

While Tran, in the past, has said that she is not sure if she’ll be in the ninth film, it shouldn’t take this long to know for sure. If Rose is written off by dying from her injuries, not only would a vital character be taken away from this universe, but it would also make her role in THE LAST JEDI as more of a one-shot plot device in Finn’s journey. If I may be so frank, that just isn’t right.

To the trolls of the Internet who harassed Tran: You have no right to call yourselves STAR WARS fans. If your ego is that fragile about seeing a woman of color make it in one of the biggest franchises of all time, then maybe you should go home and rethink your life. Or better yet, watch something else if you don’t like the direction STAR WARS is going in. At least there will be less scum to deal with in the fan base.

To J.J. Abrams: Three years ago at San Diego Comic-Con, you said “Go Asians!” when a fan asked you if there would be any Asian characters in these new adventures, and yet it wasn’t until Rian Johnson came along that an Asian American was finally cast as a lead. If you want to adhere to your statement from before, make sure Rose is in this film too.

To Kelly Marie Tran: Don’t let the bastards get you down. Please remember the thousands of fans out there who love seeing you light up the screen as Rose. Remember: “That’s how we’re going to win. Not fighting what we hate. Saving what we love.”

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