Joining an established ensemble cast in the second entry in a popular franchise like Star Wars' sequel trilogy is hardly an enviable task for any actor. For a relative newcomer like Kelly Marie Tran, it's safe to say that expectations were high and curiosity was beyond piqued when it came to Tran's new character, Resistance mechanic Rose Tico.
Based upon initial critic responses and fan reactions alike, however, it seems as though Rose Tico has quickly gone on to become yet another character in the long line of icons to emerge from Star Wars.
As resilient as she is vulnerable, as witty as she is warm, and as kick-butt as she is compassionate, Rose embodies all the traits that have made up the great heroes in the Star Wars canon from the very beginning.
Yet even though we get a good amount of her character over the course of The Last Jedi, the truth is that we still don't really know a whole lot about Rose.
In the meantime, as we wait for more information via expanded universe content, there is a little that we do actually know. We've gone ahead and gathered all of that information for you right here.
Here are the 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Star Wars' Rose Tico.
Warning: there will be The Last Jedi spoilers below.
15 She created a "baffle system" that kept Resistance bombers safe
As a mechanic for the Resistance, Rose claims that she works behind pipes all day and rarely has any consequential interactions with people on a day to day basis.
However, according to Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary, Rose is apparently due credit for an incredibly vital advancement that guaranteed the Resistance's safety in more than one venue. As the book explains, "Rose is an imaginative mechanic. Her innovations include a baffle system that makes the Resistance's bombers harder to detect by enemy sensors."
"This modification is also being rolled out into Resistance escape craft - an unusual modification for such vessels, which ordinarily use powerful automatic distress beacons to alert anyone in the vicinity of a ship in crisis. The Resistance, however, desperately needs to keep a low profile, even if that means hiding emergency craft from potential aid."
From this description, it's pretty clear that Rose is, in fact, a truly crucial asset to the Resistance, whether she believes it or not.
14 Tran had never seen Star Wars prior to being cast
A quick glance at Kelly Marie Tran's Instagram page, or really any interview with her, will confirm one fact for you right away: she's kind of an amazing nerd.
Unafraid of embracing all things geeky and nerd culture-related, Tran is an unabashed lover of Harry Potter and Disney, but there was one big pop cultural monolith that she had never seen as a kid: Star Wars.
Ss it turns out, Tran never even watched a single Star Wars movie prior to landing the role of Rose Tico. In an interview with Buzzfeed, she explained, "In 10th grade, my teacher was obsessed with [Star Wars] and played it in the background, but I was reading Harry Potter so I wasn’t listening to it."
So, when she went in to audition, she did so with a totally clear mind: "I didn’t have this expectation of what I thought this person should be like; I wasn’t trying to model her after someone I’d seen in a movie."
13 Her hatred of the First Order has very personal and early roots
Hays Minor's relationship with the First Order was a completely fraught one, as the nefarious military organization seized upon the distant locale as a prime location for much of its shady dealings. As Hays Minor was so small, it found itself unprotected by and unknown to the Resistance, thus offering the perfect hideaway for the dark side's reign.
The mining planet was used primarily for two likewise dehumanizing purposes by the First Order. The unwitting population of the smaller Otomok planet was unfortunately used as a source for target practice for tests of the First Order's latest weapons.
Further stripping them of any agency and humanity, the First Order also saw fit to steal away the Haysian children and enlist them in service as Stormtroopers. It's no wonder, then, that Rose's rage toward the incredibly corrupt system knows no bounds.
12 She hails from the small planet Hays Minor
As much as Star Wars has prided itself on being a story of dynastic succession and epic origins (whether Coruscanti, Naboo, or Force-born, for example), a crucial part of its appeal is the innate focus on the underdog and the unlikely hero.
With Rey, we have a protagonist dropped in the desert sands of Jakku, a planet even Tatooine-raised Luke Skywalker concedes is pretty much nowhere. Based on subtle visual clues in The Force Awakens, Finn is a character who was presumably abducted from his own home at a young age and enlisted anonymously into service of the First Order.
Following in this tradition, Rose Tico hails from the small planet Hays Minor. Located in the Otomok system, Hays Minor was primarily known as a mining system, and unfortunately became an early target for the First Order.
11 She has horrible communication skills
No one can claim that Rose lacks passion or commitment. From her introduction in The Last Jedi, it's clear that she's as loyal as they come, as she's taken it upon herself to stop any potential deserters in their tracks even if it requires physical intervening.
Where Rose isn't so strong, however, is in her communication skills. Incredibly blunt and honest, she can occasionally come off as aloof and unrelentingly determined. Further, her thoughts seem to sometimes have a hard time keeping up with her mouth, such as when she tells Finn "doing talking with resistance heroes isn't really my forté."
Her occasionally bumbling speech does nothing to detract from her heroism, however. If anything, it merely adds to her humanity, and makes her all the more worth rooting for.
10 Rose's medallion has a whole lot of meaning behind it
Best friend necklaces are pretty common in our galaxy, and apparently, something similar now exists in the galaxy far, far away as well.
In The Last Jedi, the Tico sisters are both shown to wear a very distinctive medallion, nearly teardrop shaped with a narrowed tail. These medallions are "stylized ensign[s] of the Otomok system, representing Hays Minor." Thanks to Benicio Del Toro's grifter DJ, we also know the medallion is made of Haysian smelt, which is apparently highly conductive.
The visual dictionary also confirms that the medallion "is the partner medallion of the one worn by Paige Tico," producing a sort of yin-yang effect among the sisters' effects. Earlier designs, such as the one above, even had the medallions forming the Resistance emblem when joined.
9 Rose's ring is a remnant from the Galactic Civil War
As we all know, Rose's medallion is not her only significant piece of jewelry, however. When Finn and Rose are trying to escape Canto Bight, Rose reveals a ring that contains a hidden emblem of the Galactic Alliance, a sign of her allegiance to the Resistance.
This ring soon falls into the hands of the child we learn to be Force-sensitive at the end of the film, signifying the unification of yet another new hope as he stares off into the distance.
The visual dictionary provides more information that imbues this simple ring with even more meaning: "An antique from the Galactic Civil War, Rose's innocuous ring hides an Alliance crest. It was once used to show support for the Rebellion in the corridors of the Imperial Senate."
8 Her family played a crucial role in making her who she is
Family is a crucial part of the overall narrative of Star Wars, thanks in large part to the focus on the Skywalker bloodline. It would be hard to imagine a world of Star Wars in which family (blood or otherwise) wasn't a main component of the narrative.
Part of Rose's family is briefly featured in The Last Jedi, arguably serving as an impetus for her heroic behavior later on. Her older sister, Paige, was the Resistance bomber who heroically sacrificed herself in order to help the Resistance score an early victory.
In addition to Paige, who was her senior by five years, Rose had a very close relationship with her parents, Hue and Thanya. According to Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Visual Dictionary, her parents "raised her with a strong sense of right and wrong," which is presumably where Rose's unflagging moral code is derived from.
7 Rose and Paige spent much of their childhood dreaming of escape
Rose and Paige were remarkably close sisters, as evidenced by their matching medallions which they proudly wear at all times. Despite the five years of age difference between them, the Tico sisters spent much of their formative childhood years together.
During these same years, the sisters apparently spent much of their time dreaming about a way of escaping their unhappy situation on Hays Minor. Travel in general was a great source of hope for the both of them.
While they presumably never got to do any sort of relaxing travel, given the chaotic state of the galaxy in their older years, Paige and Rose would certainly go on to have amazing and widespread adventures all their own, with much higher galactic stakes than they could ever have imagined as children on Hays Minor.
6 She has some real anger issues
We've already addressed the fact that Rose's passion and commitment to the Resistance cannot be overstated. From the very beginning of the film, she shows that she's willing to get her hands dirty in the name of preserving the Resistance's mission.
Her quick use of a taser on not only Finn, but multiple other would-be deserters, shows that she has the potential for real anger. Her experience with the First Order growing up on Hays Minor has also clearly increased the rage she feels regarding the mistreatment of others, as seen in her sympathy for the fathiers and stable children both.
Add to this her unbridled rage toward the wealthy and corrupt in Canto Bight, and the way in which she wants to "put [her] first through this whole lousy beautiful town," and it's clear that there's a whole lot of anger pent up in one particularly tiny package.
5 Carrie Fisher came up with the idea for the Tico sisters' medallions
In a movie saga that places so much importance on physical artifacts, such as the inherited Skywalker lightsaber or the mask of Darth Vader, the introduction of every additional signifier carries with it a presupposed weight.
In the case of Rose Tico and Paige Tico's medallions, which have their own significant in-universe meanings, it turns out that there was a real world reasoning behind their introduction as well.
Responding to a curious fan's question about the influx of jewelry in characters' costumes, Johnson credited a familiar source of inspiration: Carrie Fisher. As he tweeted in November 2017, "In rehearsals, Carrie grabbed my arm and told me with great urgency that we needed 'space jewelry.' I thought that was a fabulous idea. So."
Truthfully, we couldn't think of any better reason to include it.
4 Tran took part in chemistry reads with Boyega to ensure Finn and Rose worked as a pairing
As if it isn't hard enough to enter a beloved franchise late in the game, it's only more difficult to join a core cast of characters and find yourself paired off with one in a deeply personal (and ultimately romantic) way.
Tran had to complete five rounds of auditions in order to land the role of Rose Tico. As part of this intense audition process, she also took part in one-on-one chemistry reads opposite John Boyega, in order to ensure that the duo would play well off of one another.
Footage of the duo's chemistry testing has since been made available, in which Tran and Boyega appear to be acting out a scene involving Finn and Rose bickering over whether they can possibly trust DJ.
Following the chemistry read, a visibly jittery and excited Tran speaks to the camera and says that she "feel[s] crazy." Given how jittery and bouncy Rose would go on to be in earlier parts of the film, it's no wonder that Tran was chosen for the part.
3 Rose's casting process was totally race-blind
As Star Wars moves to embrace a more diverse galaxy, the importance of the inclusion of characters such as Rose Tico cannot be overstated. However, according to the earliest descriptions of the character, Rose could very well have been a very differently represented character.
According to Tran's recollection, the initial logline for Rose's character highlighted the fact that they were open to screening any ethnicity. While the Vietnamese-American Tran would win the role in the end, Rian Johnson notes that they had seen hundreds of actresses for the part before deciding on Tran.
However, it sounds as though Tran more or less had the job as soon as Johnson saw her bring the part to life in the audition process: "I really, really, really like Kelly. She is like... Rose stepped up. For me, the character that I had in my head when I was writing, it was like she showed up to read."
2 Her character was created because Rian Johnson felt a Finn-Poe adventure would be boring
Sometimes, characters are created from an almost out of body creative inspiration. Other times, characters are created due to a necessity in the storytelling. And even more often, characters are created due to a combination of both.
According to Rian Johnson, the character of Rose was born after he realized his initial plan of sending Finn and Poe to Canto Bight together would just prove to be completely boring.
As he explains it in The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, “Poe originally went on the journey with Finn to Canto Bight. And it was so boring. It was just these two dudes on an adventure. I knew something was wrong when I looked at their dialogue and realized that I could interchange any of their lines."
"There wasn’t conflict between them. So I realized I had to come up with something else. Finn needing somebody else to go with who would actually challenge him and push him and contrast with him was where Rose came from," he said.
1 She is the first Asian-American female lead in the entire franchise
Representation and diversity have been major points of conversation surrounding the latest films in the Star Wars saga. With the sequel trilogy, the franchise has its first female lead. In addition, characters such as Poe and Finn have increased the representation of people of color within the franchise.
Films like Rogue One further diversified the galaxy, with crucial characters of color including Chirrut, Baze, Bodhi, Cassian, and Saw controlling much of the narrative.
Yet with the introduction of Rose Tico, Star Wars has finally bridged the gap between gender representation and diverse casting: Kelly Marie Tran is the first Asian-American female lead in the entire Star Wars saga.
Naturally, Tran herself is entirely aware of how important this is: "I remember what it felt like to not see anyone like myself in books or on film or TV. When you’re really young, you tend to fall in love with characters."
"If you start seeing the same type of character everywhere and realize that they don’t look like you, or they don’t speak like you, you start wanting to change who you are. That’s something that I did when I was a young kid. I’m excited to be a part of this positive change," she said.
What other facts about Star Wars’ Rose Tico do you know? Let us know in the comments!
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