The galaxy gets a lot of delightful new additions in Star Wars: The Last Jedi — Laura Dern’s purple-haired Admiral Holdo, Benicio del Toro’s cryptic DJ, the adorable and inescapable porgs — but perhaps the new star who shines the brightest is Kelly Marie Tran. The 28-year-old actress stars as Resistance mechanic Rose Tico, whose path from nobody to hero is one of the film’s most powerful arcs.
Now, Star Wars has shared a behind-the-scenes look at Tran’s journey to a galaxy far, far away, including footage of one of her first auditions with John Boyega.
“I really, really, really like Kelly,” director Rian Johnson says in the video, after Tran’s audition. “She is like Rose stepped off [the page] for me. The character I had in my head when I was writing, it was like she showed up to read.”
Tran, of course, got the role — and Star Wars marks her major film debut.
“I still don’t really believe it’s real,” Tran told EW in November. “Like when I’m driving past the place I used to work, or when I’m driving past the comedy studio where I used to take photos in exchange for classes, or when I’m driving past the yoga studio I used to clean on the weekends. It’s not that far removed from me yet. I get very sentimental over things like that.”
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is in theaters now.