The Last Jedi introduced audiences to Rose Tico, a gentle soul who valued love over everything else. The Rise of Skywalker only put her on-screen for a little over one minute. Why?
STAR WARS: RISE OF SKYWALKER SPOILERS TO FOLLOW
Star Wars movies come with opinions.
It's incredible to think about what an impact movies like these have on popular culture. One of the most talked-about roles in The Last Jedi was Kelly Marie Tran's Rose Tico. Rose's sister dies in the opening of the film, and instead of seeking revenge, Rose's arc becomes protecting what her sister was fighting for and the man she came to love, Finn.
Depending on how you landed on The Last Jedi, you either loved or hated Rose.
But despite your feelings, I think it is inarguable that she was one of the most important members of that film. Would it surprise you to know that Rose appears on screen for 10 minutes and 53 seconds of The Last Jedi’s 2 hours and 32 minutes?
It surprised me.
When I think about the film and Rose's impact, I would have guessed she appeared for much more.
Still, it's disheartening to see such a great subplot sidelined in The Rise of Skywalker, which only features Rose Tico on screen for one minute and 16 seconds.
Rose Tico's Screentime Cut by 90% in 'Rise of Skywalker'
So what do we know?
Aside from the screentime compiled by Slate, we know that a vocal portion of fans hated the character and her role in the movie - people cited the Canto Bight subplot and minimal arc as reasons they were displeased with her creation. Part of that is tied into the creative chances Rian Johnson took in the movie overall, and a small subset of fans attacked the character and actress because they're racist bullies.
There are certainly ways to critique the movie and character without being racist, so I'm not even going to address that.
Fans had lots of questions, and no matter what, The Last Jedi left a lot of answers to Rise of Skywalker.
There was a real opportunity to have a compelling love triangle at the center of Rise, without the brother/sister stuff that diffused Return of the Jedi.
It was always going to be interesting to see what JJ Abrams did with the character in his iteration. The swagger and strict adherence to the originals with the narrative surprises and tone of The Last Jedi.
So knowing he completely pushed her to the sideline and took away any meaningful arc for her is a little confusing, especially since this was supposed to be the chapter that wraps it all up.
Whether it was a studio mandate to please vocal fans, a storytelling cram Abrams and Terrio thought wouldn't fit, or just a gross miscalculation, Rise of Skywalker is missing Rose.
Considering how much Rian Johnson was able to do in only 11ish minutes in the previous film, it's hard to understand why there was not more time to devote to finishing off her arc in this movie. Especially since the last we left her, she was kissing Finn, and he was stuck in a small love triangle.
I truly was excited about what JJ and Chris Terrio would do with her here.
And instead of challenging us or giving her some closure, we got nothing.
Finn and Rose had a pat on the shoulder.
Rose denies going on the bigger mission twice.
And in the end, she's one of the many getting group hugs.
To me, it felt lazy. Like they didn't have any good ideas, so they decided just to leave her with Leia and never got back to her.
Even if you hated Rose, you have to see that having no ending for her is worse than an ending you didn't like. Because we were denied anything about her, we're left with a thread that depersonalizes the Rebel's cause at the end of the movie.
It takes away any stakes aside from big bad versus big good.
And it feels like a dramatic miscalculation of what could have been.
No matter your feelings on The Last Jedi, Rose and her storyline deserved better.