As Rose Tico puts it: “That’s how we’re gonna win. Not fighting what we hate, but by saving what we love.”
After Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s Kelly Marie Tran reportedly left Instagram following months of online abuse and harassment, Star Wars fans are rallying around the actress.
Tran became the first Asian-American woman to headline a Star Wars movie when she was cast as Resistance mechanic Rose Tico in The Last Jedi. Although Tran’s performance and character were widely praised, a number of so-called Star Wars fans have unleashed a torrent of racist and sexist attacks on Tran ever since the movie hit theaters in December.
The 29-year-old actress recently wiped her Instagram of all posts, and although Tran has not publicly commented as to why, many have speculated that it’s because of online harassment. (Tran’s costar Daisy Ridley deleted her Instagram in 2016, calling it bad for mental health.)
The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson added his voice on Twitter, writing that the “VAST majority” of Star Wars fans “like & dislike stuff but we do it with humor, love & respect.”
A number of Star Wars fans (including Kumail Nanjiani and Star Wars book author Chuck Wendig) also flooded Twitter to praise Tran and denounce the racist and sexist attacks against her.
In an interview with EW before The Last Jedi hit theaters, Tran opened up about her casting and the significance of being the first woman of color to be cast in a starring role in a Star Wars movie.
“Growing up I watched a lot of [pop culture] and didn’t really get to see a lot of people that looked like me,” she told EW last year . “I think that I’m really lucky to be this person, and I get to be part of this franchise. I hope that it is a move in a better direction.”