Interview: Star Wars: The Last Jedi's Kelly Marie Tran on playing Rose, her relationship with Finn, and aiding the Resistance

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is just over a month away, and our sister publication SFX magazine recently got the chance to talk to the talent behind one of the movie's biggest new characters. Kelly Marie Tran plays Rose Tico, a Resistance engineer who becomes Finn's new partner in crime in the continued fight against the First Order. Here's what she had to say about playing Rose, her relationship to Finn, and how she's dealt will all the Star Wars mayhem so far. 

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How would you describe Rose?

She is smart, brave and loyal, someone who knows she comes from a humble beginning – she’s not a princess, she’s not a superhero. She’s in the Resistance, and she is aware of things that are happening, but she’s always been someone who’s worked behind pipes, fixing things. She’s never been someone who’s been at the forefront of the action, but in this movie she gets pulled into it.

Her older sister Paige is a Resistance gunner. Is Rose jealous that she doesn't see the action?

It’s more admiration. I think there’s always that need to want to be as cool as your older sister, so of course she looks up to her. But I don’t think that there’s jealousy in terms of wanting to be at the forefront. Rose is really good at what she does, and it might not be as glorious a job, but I think she symbolises that there are always so many background players in any revolution, and without those people you can’t have those people at the forefront. If their ships aren’t working, they can’t be fighting the First Order.

Rose spends a lot of the movie with Finn. What's her relationship with him like?

When Rose first meets Finn, Finn is already a hero of the Resistance, so she’s heard about all his adventures from The Force Awakens, and when she first meets him she’s kind of a fangirl about it. But as the film goes on you get to see what it means to meet a hero, and actually realise who they are. Their relationship sort of morphs throughout the movie that way.

The film hasn't come out yet, but you've already been immortalised as an action figure. How do you get your head around the fact millions of people around the world are about to recognise you?

I try not to think about it, because it’s so overwhelming [laughs]! There was definitely this part of me thinking about how do I deal with this life change, and then I started to realise that I am just going to go on in my life the way that I have been, and just take everything day to day. I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m still trying to figure it out!

This interview originally appeared in SFX magazine. Pick up a copy now for more Star Wars exclusives or subscribe so you never miss an issue.

Richard is a freelancer journalist and editor, and was once a physicist. Rich is the former editor of SFX Magazine, but has since gone freelance, writing for websites and publications including GamesRadar+, SFX, Total Film, and more. He also co-hosts the podcast, Robby the Robot's Waiting, which is focused on sci-fi and fantasy.