Star Wars fans are finally getting to know actress Kelly Marie Tran — or, as she’s known in The Last Jedi, a Resistance mechanic named Rose.
At the Celebration fan gathering Friday in Orlando, Florida, writer-director Rian Johnson finally explained exactly who she’d be — although she joins Rey and Finn among the new characters who only have one name.
“My character’s name is Rose. She’s part of the Resistance, and she works in maintenance. I can’t wait for you to meet her,” says the actress, who previously was best known for a series of digital comedy shorts.
Maintenance? That’s a compelling parallel with John Boyega’s Finn, who performed similar grunt-work for the First Order on Starkiller base before fleeing to join the resistance.
Johnson suggested those two would be paired up in this film, as Finn recovers from a debilitating lightsaber injury.
The writer director described Rose as a kind of everywoman.
“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.”
Tran, who is a relative newcomer, “embodies that for me,” he added.
A native of San Diego, she trained at the improv groups iO West, Second City, and Upright Citizens Brigade and has made guest spots on shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live! while starring in her own digital shorts.
Her biggest hit was the 2013 web series Ladies Like Us, a surreal awkward-fest about friends who hold the perils of the world at bay with their own signature strangeness.
This is just the start.
No doubt, we’ll be learning a lot more about her — and other new characters played by Laura Dern and Benicio del Toro — as The Last Jedi approaches on Dec. 15.