By Jonathon Dornbush
February 15, 2016 at 12:00 PM EST

News of Star Wars Episode VIII beginning production brought with it some new cast members: long-rumored star Benicio del Toro, surprise inclusion Laura Dern, and relative unknown Kelly Marie Tran.

A native of San Diego, Tran graduated from UCLA, but has long had an infatuation with acting and performance. She started out singing in local musical theater and went on to train at three prestigious improv groups: iO West, Second City, and Upright Citizens Brigade.

And while Star Wars is undoubtedly Tran’s most prominent role yet, she has spent the last few years putting time in with a number of web series, comedic digital shorts, commercials, and occasional guest spots on various comedies (including Jimmy Kimmel Live!). She’ll next be seen in XoXo, an indie romantic comedy that Netflix will release.


Online, Tran has starred in the web series Ladies Like Us, which launched in 2013 and ranseveral episodes on YouTube and Funny or Die. A sequel series, Ladies Like Us: The Rise of Neighborhood Watch, also debuted in 2015.

She has also appeared in a number of CollegeHumor Originals throughout the years. One of her most recent performances was in the site’s “Periods Aren’t That Gross” short, which debuted this year, as well as others — including the site’s “Why Net Neutrality Matters.”

Tran had a recurring guest spot on NBC’s sitcom adaptation of About a Boy in 2014, as well as an appearance on an episode of IFC’s Comedy Bang! Bang! in 2015. Tran can also be seen in the teaser for a pilot for a series called Pub Quiz.

Tran has done some commercial work as well, such as in this meme-filled advertisement for the “Truth” campaign about the dangers of smoking (which plays on the “It’s a Trap” meme from Star Wars: Episode VI – The Return of the Jedi.)

While there is no information on what Tran’s role will be in the upcoming film, if the part calls for some extensive costume work… well, she’s got that covered too.

Star Wars Episode VIII is set to hit theaters on Dec. 15, 2017.


Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • Rian Johnson