An Asian American Woman is the Hero of Star Wars: The Last Jedi

This morning was the long anticipated Last Jedi panel at the annual Star Wars Celebration convention in Orlando, and it didn’t disappoint. In addition to seeing Force Awakens breakouts John Boyega and Daisy Ridley reunite on stage, the world was officialy introduced to Kelly Marie Tran. Even better? We finally got a sense of who her mysterious character is and how she fits in the saga.

One of the fears I had going in was the franchise’s history erasing women of color from the narrative. For instance, it was a big deal that Lupita Nyong’o was cast as Maz Kanata and disappointing that she was playing a CGI alien. Similarly, several actresses of color — including Tessa Thompson, Naomi Scott, and Zoe Kravitz — were up for the female lead of the upcoming Han Solo film, only to lose out to Emilia Clarke. And even when they cast Thandie Newton in the film, they curiously didn’t include her in the first official cast photo. 

Suffice it to say, I was worried Kelly might get the shaft once official Last Jedi info started coming out. Fortunately, director Rian Johnson set aside any fears I had when he described her character — whose named Rose, btw.

“This possibility that any of us could step up and become a hero, that’s where Rose comes from,” Johnson tells the crowd, saying Luke Skywalker and Rey are cut from similar cloth — nobodies from nowhere who became vital parts of galactic history. “She’s not a soldier, she’s not looking to be a hero. But she gets pulled into a very big adventure with Finn.”

That’s right. He just put Rose in the same category as Luke Skywalker and Rey!

While Rogue One finally introduced Asians into a galaxy far, far away, an Asian American woman is going to be the standout in the latest Star Wars. That’s a big deal. 

Also, they released the trailer…

As well as this one-shot which is probably every one’s phone wallpaper right now. 

After all of the reveals coming out of Orlando today, I think I’m going to have to take Luke’s advice and just breathe. 

3 thoughts on “An Asian American Woman is the Hero of Star Wars: The Last Jedi

  1. you believe this bogus if you want but 1. its crap wars 2. its disney 3. its hollywood. ill believe it when i see it and by see it i mean read yall reviews cause crap wars doesnt get my money. no mam pam. they just going to use her as a token as they always do lately with our asian brothers and sisters for that asian market and they hardly have any screen time, development or the focus of a film. didnt see the trailer but i heard she wasnt even in it so PROOF NUMBER 5. dont trust em dont trust em dont trust em

  2. I am pretty grateful that Star Wars is continuing to pave the way forward for diversity and that AA women will have a new hero to call their own. Hopefully Star Wars doesn’t settle and other studios abandon whitewashing and start hustling once they see how much money they’re missing.

    One sidenote is that I think it’s worth mentioning that, regarding Lupita Nyong’o playing an exclusively motion-capture role, is that she actually prefers acting in these kinds of roles. She’s talked about in interviews how she’s felt her previous offers and roles have been limited by her body (how many directors remember she’s also Mexican?), and part of inclusion is making room for all performers in all venues. Does Star Wars leave out women of color? Yes, and Rogue One could’ve very much picked up the slack better. But I think we should allow room for Nyong’o to play the parts she wants to play, while likewise opening doors for other actresses of color in the series.

  3. ROTJ had a Y-Wing pilot who had an action figure with a stupid name. He had one line before he crashed into a star destroyer. “I’m hiiit!!!”

    Similarly, they blew up a black X-Wing pilot immediately before. “She’s gonna blow!!!”

    Not to knock the narrative or anything. They were tokens, but at least inclded tokens. Though I do get your point.

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