In a recent interview with Oscar–centric news site AwardsDaily, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker writer Chris Terrio stated that the reduction of Rose Tico’s role from a main character in The Last Jedi to a less-than-two-minute-total-screentime appearance in The Rise of Skywalker was due to “the difficulty of using Carrie’s footage in the way we wanted to.”
In the interview, AwardsDaily editor Clarence Moye directly asked Terrio about this discrepancy and about his process in “working through her role in the final film.”
Terrio explains that Tico, as portrayed by actress Kelly Marie Tran, was originally meant to have extended scenes with General Leia, but issues working with the CGI aspects of Carrie Fisher’s likeness prompted the team to cut this storyline from the film:
“AwardsDaily: One thing that’s fairly pervasive right now is the buzz around Kelly Marie Tran’s reduced role in The Rise of Skywalker when compared to The Last Jedi. Tell me about working through her role in the final film.
Chris Terrio: Well, first of all, J.J. and I adore Kelly Marie Tran. 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’s footage in the way we wanted to. 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 whom we love, so Leia and Rose were working together. 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. 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.”
Tico’s immensely reduced role in The Rise of Skywalker, particularly in the face of the harassment controversy surrounding Tran’s departure from social media, prompted some fans to start the hashtag #RoseTicoDeservedBetter.
Tico’s sidelining in the film also corresponds with Disney’s removal of Tico’s image from multiple pieces of Star Wars merchandise.