Kellie Marie Tran, the actress that portrays Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi was forced off of social media due to fan backlash, much of it directed towards her race and gender.
I contend that Rose Tico is the mirror Star Wars fandom needs to find itself again. I will explain.
When we first meet Tico, she’s doing her job in the bowels of the Rebel ship as it tries to make its escape from the First Order. She catches Finn as he tries to slip away and reminds him, as any true believer to a cause should, what he’s fighting for.
You see, Tico wholeheartedly believes in the way things were much like the fandom believes that only the original trilogy is truly Star Wars, even though all the movies are truly Star Wars.
Star Wars is more than Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Princess Leia, and Jedi Knights. It’s more than one story arc, which is what we’re seeing in the Episodes, what Disney refers to as Saga Films.
(Rogue One and Solo aren’t considered Saga Films even though they tie directly into the events (Rogue One) and characters (Solo) who are in the Saga Films.)
You see, Rose Tico wants Finn to be a hero. As the audience does. She expects him to be a hero by virtue of his presence on the Rebel ship. She wants a hero of old, like a Luke Skywalker, like a Han Solo, to help save the day and fight the First Order.
One of the unfair comparisons I’ve seen from fandom is how Finn doesn’t stack up to Han Solo or Luke Skywalker, chiefly because of his skin color. That is, of course, the laziest of reasons to dislike a character in existence. I’ve also seen such comparisons between Harrison Ford’s Solo and Oscar Issac’s Poe Dameron that are just as unfair.
Rose’s idea of what a Rebel fighter should be have been colored by the stories that she grew up on. (That WE, the audience, grew up on, as well) of what a Rebel fighter should be. She epitomizes fandom in the Star Wars universe.
Rose Tico is the mirror held up to fandom, a fandom that railed and attacked Star Wars: The Force Awakens for a multitude of reasons, not the least being Finn, the Black Stormtrooper (lazy reasoning from racists), Rey, the so-called “Mary Sue,” (I see their point. I don’t agree with it.) and the plot which was an almost straight rehash of Episode IV: A New Hope. (Agreed).
I feel Rose is there to remind fandom that, while not everything, or everyone, is exactly like it was when we were kids, there is enough of those elements in place to keep Star Wars really special to all of us for long time to come.
Give Kelli Marie Tran a break will ya? She did a good job. If there are faults with The Last Jedi, it comes from the script and not her performance. Leave her alone and stop being dicks to people.