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.