Star Wars: Kelly Marie Tran Says She "Never Thought" She Would Be Cast in The Last Jedi

Back in 2017, Kelly Marie Tran made her Star Wars debut as Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The actor went on to reprise the role in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and she will soon be available to meet fans and take photos at the upcoming Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim. In honor of AANHPI (Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander) Heritage Month, Tran was recently profiled by's Jenn Fujikawa and spoke about how Rose was "influenced by culture." During the chat, she also opened up about her "big break" and revealed she "never thought" she would land the role. 

"So my big break was in 2016 when I was offered the role of Rose in Episode VIII. As I was auditioning for Star Wars, it was a six-month process," Tran explained. "I never thought to myself that I would actually get it because, again, I keep going back to this idea, this culture of belief, but like, I grew up watching those movies and they are all white. So I just was like, 'Oh, I'm obviously not gonna get this, but one day I'll tell my grandchildren how lucky I was to audition for this thing, and that was a cool thing that I did.'" 

Tran also spoke about what it was like to be the first Asian lead in the Star Wars franchise.

"It was twofold. The first emotion that I felt – and I try to remind myself of this – was just pure joy and pure ecstasy. It felt like being high, it was like, oh, my God," Tran shared. "It's the same thing that I think happened for my parents where something in our brains just changed, when it was suddenly the idea that impossible things were possible and that there's room for everyone. Like that just changes you as a human being."

She added, "Then on the other side of that, there's this heaviness. That feeling like, 'I don't wanna do this wrong.' I've never seen anyone like me in this position before and I put so much pressure on myself to do it, quote 'right,' whatever that meant. And I think it was a little bit of a disservice to myself because it's unfair. When I think about people who don't have the sort of burden of representation, they just get to have fun and do whatever they want, whereas every role that I read I feel like I have to think about all of these things because I don't want to make a movie that stereotypes – and this is sad because it shouldn't feel like such a heavy decision every time. But it does, very much for me, and I think that has a lot to do with the way I grew up, that has a lot to do with the types of roles that I have been very fortunate to be a part of in the very beginning. But it very much was like me being a normal person, never thinking about what I look like, never thinking about people judging me for looking or dressing certain way, to then being so hyper aware of being seen."

Star Wars Celebration kicks off on May 26th. You can read more from Tran's AANHPI Heritage Month profile here