Credit: Jonathan Olley/© 2019 Lucasfilm Ltd.

“We’re going to win this war not by fighting what we hate, but saving what we love.” That profound declaration by Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi became a fan-favorite line, a sentiment that seemed aimed at combating both the First Order and real-life contemporary hate.

Actress Kelly Marie Tran plays the Resistance engineer and pilot, and looked back on the line while promoting the upcoming sequel Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

“I think that that is such a good logline for what Rose represents,” the actress said. “I remember a lot of people after seeing the film would ask me questions about that specific line. I think the idea of it is: What is motivating our actions? And if your actions are motivated by love, it’s such a powerful, wonderful thing. And I think that really does carry out in this film, in the things that we see Rose do.”

Fans last saw Rose being given medical attention after crashing her speeder into Finn’s to stop his suicidal attack during the battle of Crait. In the new film, Rose has become the leader of the Resistance’s Engineering Corps.

“It’s pretty clear that she is sort of moved into a different position within the Resistance,” Tran said. “I’m excited for people to kind of see more what that means. She’s definitely in a different space, in a good way.”

Rose’s Last Jedi arc also included a hint of potential romance with Finn (John Boyega), which the actor said has him confused. “The Rose-Finn saga, I still don’t know what that is yet,” Boyega told EW. “I think for Finn there’s a bit of confusion, as it happens in real life — you’re feeling somebody else more than the other, and things pop up.”

While many have praised Tran’s inclusion and performance in Last Jedi, the actress was also subject to racist and sexist attacks online, which began even before the film was shown. Tran wrote an op-ed for the New York Times about the experience, noting that the bullying “reinforced a narrative I had heard my whole life: that I was ‘other’, that I didn’t belong, that I wasn’t good enough, simply because I wasn’t like them” and concluded: “You might know me as Kelly. I am the first woman of color to have a leading role in a Star Wars movie. I am the first Asian woman to appear on the cover of Vanity Fair. My real name is Loan. And I am just getting started.” — Anthony Breznican contributed to this report

The Rise of Skywalker opens Dec. 20.

Related content:

Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi
  • Movie