Details about Star Wars: The Last Jedi are held more tightly than the blueprints for the Death Star, but Kelly Marie Tran is teasing her character Rose, a new face in the franchise.
When EW caught up with Tran at PEOPLE’S Ones to Watch event, where Tran was an honoree, she opened up about her character and why she thinks audiences will connect with the young Resistance mechanic. “Rose is smart and she’s confident and she’s loyal,” Tran said. “She’s going to be such a cool character because she’s someone who isn’t a model. She’s not a superhero. She’s just kind of an everyday person, and that’s something special about her. She’s someone who is able to face her fears in the face of adversity even though she kind of is a background player in the Resistance.”
It’s previously been reported that Tran will pair up with John Boyega’s Finn and help get him back into battle following the lightsaber injury he sustained near the end of The Force Awakens. While many details are vague, Tran agrees that Rose shares some key characteristics with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) in their journey from everyday person to unlikely hero.
As for Rose’s future beyond The Last Jedi (or likelihood of making it out of the film alive), Tran says she still has no idea if she’ll be back for Episode IX. “Let me know if you hear anything,” she joked.
Tran was not a Star Wars fan growing up, but says that actually helped her approach the role. “It was good because I was able to kind of look at this character objectively and not think about what it should be or what Star Wars was like, but obviously when you get something like this you want to research everything and watch every single movie and you just can’t help but respect how amazing it is,” she said.
Tran told EW that she won the part after a series of five auditions with at least a month break between each one. She was still working a day job and was in the office when she got the phone call telling her she got the part. “I found out. I couldn’t tell anyone, so I just went right back to my job and finished out the work day,” she revealed. “I was dying inside. I was numb; I was answering emails like what’s happening?!!“
She may have had to keep her casting secret to herself at her day job, but soon the whole world will know Tran’s face. She says she’s bracing for the sudden changes of fame but is ultimately unsure of what to expect. “John [Boyega] and Daisy [Ridley] have told me a little bit about what it was like for them. I think it’s different for everyone,” she said. “And I don’t know if I’ll be ready until it happens. It’s one of those things that you can anticipate, you can think about, but you kind of just have to take it as it comes. But I have a great family and great friends, and I think that they’ll keep me grounded.”
The Last Jedi is out Dec. 15.