Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Star Kelly Marie Tran Says Leia Scenes Were Like "Puzzle Pieces"

While Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has been dominating the box office since its release, it has still faced quite a bit of criticism from fans especially with the reduced role of Kelly Marie Tran's character Rose in the film. She's supposed to be a big deal in the Resistance, aiding General Leia Organa in organizing their forces against the First Order, but is only on screen for less than two minutes of the movie. Now Tran has shed more light on this development, explaining that there was a lot of difficulty in repurposing the unused footage of Carrie Fisher.

Tran spoke with the Hollywood Reporter about the challenge of filming new scenes set around Fisher's old performance for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

"The one thing that was difficult was that you were acting with footage that was prerecorded," explained Tran. "So, instead of having an actor there and reacting off the actor, you would sometimes look — in between takes — at how the actor delivered a line and then try to imagine and react to that. So, it definitely took more time and was a very different experience for me. We probably did a lot more takes for scenes with her than without her."

She added, "It’s one thing to sit there, look at that footage and try to react to it, but a lot of the big group scenes felt like they were puzzle pieces if that makes sense. I think there were more reshoots on those scenes, specifically, to just try and make sure all of the performances matched up since she [Carrie Fisher] wasn’t physically there."

These comments back up the sentiments expressed by Chris Terrio, who wrote Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker alongside director J.J. Abrams. Terrio explained that Abrams had to make some hard decisions and leave a lot of Tran's scenes on the cutting room floor.

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“As I've said elsewhere before, there were a couple of scenes that we shot with Rose that I wish had made it to the final cut. You'd be hard pressed to find a screenwriter who doesn't wish that all his scenes were treated as inspired gospel and ended up in the film exactly as written,” Terrio said. “But it's the nature of the process that certain scenes fall out of the film, and I very much respect the difficulty of the decisions J.J. had to make, wearing both his screenwriter hat and his director hat — especially given that I know for a fact that J.J. adores and respects Kelly and would have loved to keep every second he shot with her in the film.”

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now playing in theaters.