Save What We Love: Why Rose Tico Represents Everything Great About Star Wars

Kelly Marie Tran's Rose Tico may be one of the most divisive characters in Star Wars history. While the character didn't have a major presence in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, it was still a significant one, and, though Rose has inspired numerous fans, there have also been a lot of less-positive reactions, with some groups of viewers declaring that the character "ruined" Star Wars. The reality is that this particular perspective couldn't be further from the truth. With Rose set to have a larger role in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and some time having passed since The Last Jedi, it's worth taking a second look at Rose Tico, as the character represents everything that is great about the Star Wars franchise.

First and foremost, what makes Rose Tico such a valuable character that is representative of everything good about Star Wars is one of the things that detractors point to as being problematic: she's not really anyone important. In a saga that is overwhelmingly centered around the idea of legacies and destinies, as well as those who are powerful for various reasons or have a specific legendary bloodline, Rose is a reminder that heroes require none of those trappings to be heroic. Rose doesn't come from a powerful family or Force abilities, she's just a mechanic whose life story is pretty ordinary. She's not special, yet she steps up.

Her heroics go well beyond her actions, though, because Rose being just an "ordinary" person within the story serves as a reminder that even in an epic saga such as Star Wars, it is the real, more grounded characters who are most impacted by the outcome of these epic events. The Skywalkers may be legends, but the real impact of their successes and failures are felt far more deeply by the common man. Rose is a strong reminder of that, especially given the details of the hardships of her childhood and her suffering under the First Order.

Rose's "everyman" element is also what helps ground the story in its humanity, and it's humanity that largely makes the Star Wars franchise one that people are drawn to. If you think back to Star Wars: A New Hope, part of what made that story so engaging, even after you stripped away the space adventure of it all, was that it was about a small group of young people simply trying to do the right thing. They were fighting back against oppression and, in that first film, they weren't really anything special. We'd find out as the story progressed how special and unique these players were, but in that first movie, it was all about humanity. In this sequel trilogy, Rose represents that in a way that feels very much like a callback to that first film. It feels like classic Star Wars.

It's these echoes of the original that ties into the third, and maybe most important, way that Rose represents everything great about Star Wars, which is that she represents a facet of the fight against the First Order, the Empire, or whatever dark form oppression takes. Rose Tico represents hope. This isn't to say that there isn't hope in all of the characters in the sequel trilogy, as there certainly is. Rey's story is focused on the discovery of self, Finn's is about finding purpose, and Poe's is about service and growing into the leader he has the potential to be.

Rose's journey, however, is specifically about hope. She's a character who has lost everything, yet she continues to fight. She pushes on for a better tomorrow, hopeful that there will someday be a world in which the oppressors are well and truly defeated, allowing people to be free. In a way, she's very much like a young Princess Leia who, despite the destruction of everything she knew and loved, never quit. She continued the fight not because she was seeking herself or her purpose or looking to be a leader. She continued out of hope that the future could be better.

Rose is like that, too.

She may not be flashy or full of legacy and pedigree, but Rose Tico is perhaps the best of Star Wars. She's the character that represents not just the people of the galaxy, but the audience, as well, and serves as a reminder that, at the center of it all, Star Wars is about hope. The fight against the First Order is not about taking down the oppression they hate, it's, as she said herself, about saving what they love. It makes Rose Tico the best of Star Wars and it will be exciting to see where she goes in The Rise of Skywalker.

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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker lands in theaters on December 20th.

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